Maclay, Florida High advance to title game

Maclay, Florida High advance to title game

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Maclay, Florida High advance to title game

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Two of the city’s top basketball talents face each other tonight in the championship game of the Maclay Holiday Hoops Tournament.

Florida High senior Landus Anderson, perhaps the area’s most dangerous scorer, and Maclay junior J.T. Escobar, who holds a scholarship offer from North Florida, face off for a second straight year in the title game of the tourney.

But it was two of the “glue guys,” as Maclay coach Mike McGrotha calls them, that helped make the showdown possible.

Florida High senior and two-sport star Tevin Floyd delivered a team-high 16 points to lead the Seminoles to a 51-49 victory over Chiles in the semifinal of the boys’ bracket.

That means the Seminoles (8-5) will play the host Marauders, who cruised past South Walton 55-37 in the other semifinal.

And though McGrotha praised the effort of Escobar for his role in the win, he was quick to applaud the work of senior Logan Eagen who only scored three points but made plays all over the court Friday night.

Eagen was especially crafty in helping the Marauders navigate South Walton’s half-court trap that gave Maclay a bit of trouble in the first half.

“He did a great job of putting people where they need to be and making those little plays in basketball that help you win,” McGrotha said. “Logan is the glue on our defense. He got a lot of rebounds and boxed out and did all those things that coaches notice.”

Those little plays helped open the door for Escobar, who scored 18 points – including 12 on 3-pointers – and reminded everyone that he is one of the city’s top all-around guards. Eagen said getting Escobar on a roll was the key to breaking open a four-point lead midway through the second quarter.

“We really played team basketball,” Eagen said. “We got on a cold streak there in the second quarter but we really got JT going. And then Clay Meenan got some nice layups.

“It really opens the defense because they have to come out and it gives you open layups.”

The Marauders now face Florida High in a rematch of last year’s championship won by the Seminoles.

Floyd’s scoring and some big plays helped fend off the Timberwolves, who were led by Justin Mischler (16 points), Justin Griffin (13 points) and Mike Dunn (12 points).

But it was Anderson, the one-handed sensation profiled in the Democrat last year, who made perhaps the play of the game by forcing a turnover with 10 seconds left to help secure the victory.

The girls’ final will feature Maclay and Faith Academy.

The Marauders rolled to a 56-23 victory over Arnold, thanks to strong scoring efforts from Kenya Pye (15 points) and Hannah Schuchts (12 points).

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