Blanche Ely (Fla.) won a physical, nip-and-tuck game against Richland Northeast, 61-54, to advance to the Classic I bracket championship game in the Chick-fil-A Classic on Friday at Richland Northeast.
Its disappointing , because we contributed to a lot of their points because we couldnt handle their pressure, said Cavaliers coach Jason Powell, whose team will play for third place on Saturday against Wheeler (Ga.) High.
The game featured 17 3-point buckets, the Tigers posting nine, and the host Cavaliers notching eight. Blanche Elys Richard Lee led the game five 3-pointers. Richland Northeasts Devante Anderson and Quiron Cooke each made three.
Anderson started the second half with consecutive 3s that put Richland Northeast ahead 35-31, but Blanche Elys Lee hit his fourth 3-pointer to close the gap.
The Cavaliers never led by more than five, and Blanche Ely nipped at those leads eagerly.
The Tigers pulled ahead by one with nine minutes to go, but Richland Northeasts Aaron Scott hit a 3 to re-up the Cavaliers. Still with eight minutes left, the game was tied again.
A Kendall Benjamin tip-in and a 3-pointer from Quiron Cooke put Richland Northeast up 47-42 at the 5:55 mark.
But with 1:28 to go it was the Tigers who were ahead by five.
Cooke hit another 3 with less than a minute to go, but the Cavaliers, who won their first game of the tournament with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime, could not break through.
The Cavaliers were 8-of-14 from the free-throw line, with 18 turnovers, compared to Blanche Elys 12-of-19 free throw shooting and seven turnovers.
Those kind of games, if you dont make free throws and you make a lot of turnovers, youre not going to win, Powell said.
The squads 3-point shootout began early.
Cookes first 3-pointer put the Cavaliers up in the first two minutes, but Blanche Ely exploited an RNE defensive hole, three times hitting 3-point buckets from the corner to forge ahead by 7.
Anderson tightened that gap with consecutive buckets
Lees trio of first-half 3s helped Blanche Ely stay out front for a while, but Aaron Scotts driving layup put Richland Northeast at two-points back with a minute to go. And Anderson hit two free throws to set the halftime score at 29 all.
B: Lance Tejada 11, Dallas Cameron 17, Darrion Allen 10, Richard Lee 17, Thomas 6. R: Benjamin 4, Phillips 6, Aaron Scott 17, Quiron Cooke 10, Devante Anderson 15, Washington 2.