By Dave Brousseau

Staff Writer

CORAL SPRINGS – Playing solid and aggressive defense has been a primary reason why the McArthur boys basketball team will play in the finals of the AF Best Challenge bracket at the Kreul Classic on Saturday.

The Mustangs held their semifinal opponent Miami Norland to two first quarter points as they held on for a 50-44 victory at the Coral Springs City Gymnasium.

They will play Westminster Academy, a 47-35 winner over Good Counsel (Md.) for the championship at 1:30.

“I thought we started the game relay well because we were making shots,” said McArthur coach Warren Gale. “We’ve also played great defense the last three games.

In three straight victories the Mustangs (9-5) have held their opponent to an average of 39.3 points per game. They have also won six of the eight games played, that included wins over Western and Monarch.

Despite a 15-point halftime lead, McArthur needed to hold off the Vikings. Norland closed to within 42-26 of the lead, before the Mustangs reeled of six straight points.

Jordan Howard and Tyshaun Daniels, won combined for 25 points, were responsible for the 6-0 run.

Senior guard Trevor Ward sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 12.4 seconds remaining in regulation.

“We got some baskets off their misses and that was big down the stretch,” said Gale. “Those makes helped seal the game for us and the cushion we needed to win the game.”

Norland (6-5), who was playing its seventh game in nine days as they played in the A-Rod Classic last week.

Jahvon Smith and Cameron Johnson combined for 22 of their 27 points to rally the Vikings into striking range of a double-digit deficit.

Norland will play Good Counsel for third place in the bracket on Saturday at 3:15.

If you have high school basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer via e-mail at PatALammer@Gmail.com or via text at 954-661-9671.