By Dave Brousseau
POMPANO BEACH – The Blanche Ely boys basketball team is living on the edge of playoff longevity.
Still the expectation is to play for a state title in early March.
If the Tigers want to play for the third straight title, coach Melvin Randall made it clear prior to their 65-19 victory over Plantation in the District 14-6A quarterfinals at Blanche Ely High on Tuesday, a district tile is a likely necessity.
“We’ll approach this one game at a time,” said Randall. “We’ve been playing pretty good. We’ve just got to win this district and move on.”
The Tigers (10-12) will face Fort Lauderdale, a 49-37 winner over South Plantation, in a district semifinal game on Wednesday at 7:30.
Ely got 17 points from Dudley Blackwell and another 12 points from Lamont Evans in the rout.
Ely, coming off back-to-back state titles, is young team and rebuilding with eyes toward and championship. Tuesday’s victory of Plantation was positive despite the opponent’s quality.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth in these young men here,” said Randall. “Somehow over the years we have performed well. At times you have good luck, but we’ve been on the other end in trying to prepare this young team. We should be ready.”
Ely force many turnovers with its aggressive defensive pressure and turned it easy transition points.
They’ll need more of the to get past Fort Lauderdale and potentially against top-seeded Dillard should Ely get to the final.
FORT LAUDERDALE 49, SOUTH PLANTATION 37: Jordan Shorter scored 14 and EJ Taylor scored 13 to lead the Flying’s into the district semifinals.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 59, NOVA 56: Andrew Akuchie led a balanced Raiders scoring with 10 points. They advance to the district semifinals and will face top-seeded Dillard on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 59, NOVA 56
N (9-12): Tani 3-0-7, Salim 2-0-4, Pratt 1-3-5, Whyte 8-9-25, Belazaire 1-2-5, Clough 3-2-9.
STA (7-14); Zibelli 2-2-6, Liger 3-2-8, Aloma 3-0-7, Buxbaum 3-0-6, Delgado 2-0-4, Akuchie 4-1-10, Cadogan 3-0-8, Johnson 3-3-9, Delva 0-1-1.
3-pointers: Cadogan 2, Aloma, Akyuchie Tani, Belazaire, Clough. Half: STA 39-24.
BLANCHE ELY 65, PLANTATION 19
P (3-17): Smith 1-0-2, Choute 1-0-2, Barthelus 4-0-8. Schrouder 3-1-7.
BE (10-12); King 3-2-8, Gilgeours 1-0-2, Kelly 3-1-8, Lovett 4-3-11, Patterson 1-1-3, Evans 3-4-12, Blackwell 7-1-17, Topping 2-0-4.
3-pointers: Blackwell 2, Evans 2, Kelly. Half: BE 52-11.
FORT LAUDERDALE 49, SOUTH PLANTATION 37
SP (3-19): Thomas 0-1-1, McTayer 5-3-14, Howard 3-0-8, Martinez 2-2-7, Brown 2-2-6.
FTL (19-6); Shorter 6-0-14, Taylor 5-1-13, Bain 5-1-12, Johnson 2-1-5, McClain 0-1-1, Nazier 1-0-2.
3-pointers: Shorter 2, Taylor 2, Bain, Howard 2, McTayer, Martinez. Half: FTL 24-17.