Gerard Tarin found himself all alone on his end of the floor, and slammed home the exclamation point for East Lee, as the host Jaguars defeated Palmetto Ridge 77-63 in the semifinal of the Lehigh Regional Medical Center Holiday Madness tournament on Monday.
The Jaguars erased a nine-point second-half deficit with a 14-2 run, punctuated by an alley-oop from to Winfred Ward from Peter Gooden to put East Lee ahead 42-39. The Jaguars never looked back.
“That was an outstanding effort,” said East Lee coach Brien Crowder. “We were playing without Kendall Sawyer, and we were really worried because Palmetto Ridge is a great team.
“They controlled us in the half court sets early, which is why we were down, but we were able to handle the press better than they were.”
Tarin led all scorers with 31 points, while Ward scored 28, the last of which came on a one-handed jam just before Tarin’s in the closing seconds. John Sparkman led the Bears with 20 points in the loss.
East Lee will face the winner of Riviera Beach Suncoast and West Palm Beach Dwyer in the finals tonight.
Dunbar overcame a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Island Coast 56-53.
The Tigers(8-3) trailed much of the game, but Keonu Peniston hit a go-ahead layup with 2:10 left to give Dunbar a 50-49 lead.
Joe Williams lead the Tigers with 19 points. Peniston scored 18 points, 16 of them coming in the second half. Morgan Foreman led the Gators(5-9) with 16 points.
Raiders drop Donahue
Riverdale used a strong defensive effort in their 54-34 win over Donahue Catholic. Jacob Ellis led the way for the Raiders with 14 points, while Daniel Scanlan scored 11 for the Shamrocks.
Harkins wins shootout
Hayden Harkins of Lithia Newsome won the 3-point contest, defeating Abed Abu-Khadier of Lehigh in the finals.
Monday’s other scores
* Clewiston 68, Moore Haven 48
* Palmetto Ridge 83, Hardee 57
* North Fort Myers 69, Mount Dora 62 (OT)
* Lehigh 69, Newsome 68 (OT)
* Moore Haven vs TBD, 9:30 a.m.
* Clewiston vs Donahue Catholic, 11 a.m.
* Mt. Dora vs Newsome, 12:30 p.m.
* North Fort Myers vs Lehigh, 2 p.m.
* Hardee vs Island Coast, 3:30 p.m.
* Riverdale vs Dunbar, 5 p.m.
* Third place: Palmetto Ridge vs. Suncoast/Dwyer loser, 7 p.m.
* Final: East vs. Suncoast/Dwyer winner, 8:30 p.m.