Emmitt Williams and Antwann Jones put Orlando Oak Ridge in position for the upset, but 7-foot junior James Wiseman’s last-second put back won it 62-60 for top-seeded and top-ranked Memphis East in the last quarterfinal Thursday night in the 45th annual City of Palms Classic.
Williams scored a game-high 21 points with six rebounds, three blocks and a steal.
The 6-7 senior, a top-20 national prospect prior to his arrest, also drew a primary assignment most of the night against Wiseman, ranked one of the two best juniors in the nation by multiple scouting services.
Wiseman had 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting and a game-high 10 rebounds.
He was left open to sky for the game-winning put back after Williams and a teammate converged on a drive by Memphis senior guard Alex Lomax. Lomax, who had 16 points, seven assists and three steals, lofted a shot high off the glass that bounced off the front of the rim to Wiseman.
The victory sends Memphis East (8-0) to a 7:15 p.m. semifinal Friday against Chicago Simeon after what Mustangs coach Penny Hardaway said was a selfish effort in a 76-58 defeat of Lakewood Ranch Tuesday.
Fort Lauderdale University School and McEachern of Powder Springs, Ga., play in the second semifinal Friday at 9 p.m.
“I wasn’t disappointed tonight,” said Hardaway, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Super 25. “We didn’t do a good job taking advantage with our bigs against their zone.”
“They’re (Simeon) real athletic,” Hardaway said. “They’re probably going to play us the same way.”
East led 31-21 at halftime and still was ahead 46-40 entering the final quarter after No. 18 Oak Ridge (9-2) had opened the second half with a 9-0 run to draw within 31-30.
But Oak Ridge pulled even, 50-50, on a 3-pointer by Jones with 4:40 remaining and went ahead 60-55 on a 5-0 run by Jones, who had a steal and dunk and a 3-point play on a run out on the next possession.
Lomax answered for East with a pair of coast-to-coast buckets to tie it 60-60 with 1:15 left after a poor shot and a turnover by Oak Ridge on consecutive possessions.
After Jones lost the ball out of bounds on a drive to the basket with under a minute to play, East played for the last shot and got the win on Wiseman’s rebound and bucket.
“We should have won,” said Oak Ridge coach Steve Reece. “We should have won. That’s it.”