By Dave Brousseau
LAKELAND – The Miramar High boys basketball program fits into one of the categories of close, closer and finally.
The Patriots had made two previous trips to the state semifinals only to fall short. The third attempt was the finally as they advanced to the Class 7A state championship with a 59-55 overtime victory over Oak Ridge at the RP Funding Center
Miramar (23-6) will face Seminole, a semifinal winner over Forest Hill, for the state championship on Saturday at 8 p.m.
“They say the first game is always the toughest one,” said Miramar coach Tramaine Stevens. “I think these guys just wanted to make me proud. Every day we practice hard finishing out games, getting rebounds, making layups and that’s how to finish.
We set out the season to make history at Miramar. Hopefully this year we bring home the state championship.”
Miramar looks to join Blanche Ely, Coral Springs and Dillard as the only Broward County teams to win a state title in the largest FHSAA classification since 2000.
The Patriots lost their previous state semifinal games in 2011 and 2018.
The overtime became a free throw shooting contest as the Patriots were clutch in making 9 of 10 from the line.
“We practice free throws every day,” said Davis, who made his first two in overtime and 4 of 5 from line for the game finishing with 11 points. “We get to the free throw line to make them.”
Besides Davis, the Patriots got 14 points from Michael Lott and 12 points from Khamuary McMillan.
Two telling stats in the game that helped in the Miramar victory was winning the rebound battle 31-18 and committing no turnovers in overtime, while finishing with 13 over 36 minutes
The Patriots fell behind 6-0, but regained control of the first half with a strong zone defense that led to a 29-9 run to the end with a 23-15 lead at the break.
All four the Oak Ridge baskets were 3-pointers.
Though Miramar shot just under 32-percent from the field in the opening half, it was still better than the 26.7 percent by the Pioneers.
MIRAMAR 55, OAK RIDGE 55 (OT)
OR (21-9): Henry 1-5-7, Jones 0-1-1, James 8-7-27, Smith 2-0-4, Calderon 4-3-12, Basili 2-0-4.
M (23-6): Jean-Charles 2-0-4, Lott 6-2-14, McMillan 3-6-12, Saintleger Merin 0-7-7, Davis 3-4-11, Cooper 3-0-9, Bailey 0-2-2.
3-pointers: Cooper 3, Davis, James 4, Calderon. Half: M 23-15.