By Dave Brousseau
FORT LAUDERDALE – No one sent the message to the Stranahan boys basketball, if you fall behind early against high scoring Pembroke Pines Charter, the odds aren’t good at winning.
The Jaguars proved that the numbers don’t lie as they rolled behind the 31 points from senior guard and tourney MVP Dallas Graziani for a 76-57 victory at the BCAA Big 8 championship game on Saturday at Fort Lauderdale High
It was the Jaguars (21-1) first title at the 23rd annual tournament. Stranahan (19-8) has lost the championship in two of the last three years.
“We have a lot of talent on this team and everyone can score,” said Graziani. “For me I shoot with a lot of confidence. It’s a great feeling to win this tournament and one back to the school.”
Graziani had made 25 consecutive free throws in the tourney before finally missing one late in the fourth quarter. He finished the tournament averaging 25.7 points in three games.
Saturday’s 19-point margin of victory in the championship game was the second largest since Deerfield Beach beat Hallandale by 37 points in the inaugural Big 8 final in 1998.
“I tell it’s the pace and the space,” said Pines Charter coach Dave Roca on his teams scoring. “We figure if space out the floor we can take the ball to the hoop with ease.”
Osei added 19 points for the Jaguars
Pines Charter widen its lead the open the second half with a 8-2 run following a one-handed dunk by Price for a 47-31 lead with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter.
“They couldn’t miss a shot,” said Stranahan coach Terrence Williams. “There was nothing we could do to prevent them from making shots.”
After slow start Pines Charter went on a 13-0 run, keyed for four 3-pointers, that helped build an 18-9 lead after one quarter.
Graziani went off from the free throw line in the second quarter by converting all eight attempts that was key to the Jaguars building a 39-27 lead at the half.
Williams indicated a key to Stranahan’s success against Pines Charter would be defending the perimeter. Pines Charter didn’t get that message as they made six from long distance through two quarters.
Stranahan struggled converting numerous drives to the rim in the opening half that likely would have kept the deficit to singles digits.
The Dragons were led by Savier McCall with 13 points. Inady Legiste added 10 points.
PEMBROKE PINES CHARTER 76, STRANAHAN 57
PPC (21-1): Price 5-8-19, Sprouse 2-0-6, Smith 1-4-7, Graziani 8-10-31, Laidley 2-0-4, Sabater 1-0-2, Ujabour 2-3-7.
S (19-8): Vickers 2-0-4, Squire 2-0-4, Herard 0-4-4, C. Culpepper 2-0-4, McCall 4-4-13, H. Culpepper 1-2-4, Legiste 4-2-10, Adams 1-1-3, Thorpe 1-0-3, Fye 1-0-2.
3-pointers: Graziani 5, Sprouse 2, Smith, Price, McCall, thorpe. Half: PPC 39-27.