By Dave Brousseau
OAKLAND PARK – When it meant the most, the Pembroke Pines Charter boys basketball team silenced the home side in this budding rivalry.
The Jaguars held of a stubborn Northeast side to defeat the Hurricanes 76-69 in a Class 5A regional semifinal at Northeast High on Tuesday.
Pines Charter (24-2) will travel to Okeechobee in a regional final on Friday. It will be Pines Charter second trip to the regional finals in school history.
Geoff Sprouse scored a team-high 23 points, including 11 in the final quarter to help hold off Northeast. Seven points on free throws.
Dallas Graziani also added eight of his 20 points in the final quarter.
“We had to play as a team,” said Pines Charter coach Dave Roca. “Talent doesn’t always win game, but teams do. We just had to play discipline basketball.”
Every time Northeast cut deep into he deficit, Pines Charter answered, while never relinquishing the lead.
The victory also erases the Jaguars only two losses of the season that both came to Northeast.
Pines Charter shot themselves in the foot in any attempted comeback by missing 16 free throw attempts. The late in the fourth quarter had four turnovers.
Wesley Cardet led Northeast (21-7) with 23 points, while Tyrecke Francois added 15 points
Early indicators suggested a high-scoring ferocious first half.
Both teams running up and down the court with recklessness. And early on Pines Charter looked like they would run Northeast out of its own gym.
Pines Charter was locked on converting three-pointers, dropping five in the opening quarter for a 26-15 lead.
Northeast, though scrappy at times hung in there, chipping away at the deficit as Cardet held his team close to withing five of the lead at 34-29
PEMBROKE PINES CHARTER, 76, NORTHEAST 69
PPC (24-2): Price 4-0-11 Sprouse 6-9-23, Smith 5-1-14, Graziani 6-6-20, Laidley 1-0-2, Ujabour 2-2-6.
NE (21-7): Francois 4-4-15, Dyges 0-1-1, Black 1-1-3, Harris 4-0-12, Cardet 9-3-23, M. Bewley 4-5-13.
3-pointers: Price 3, Smith, Sprouse 2, Graziani 2, Harris 4, Francois 3, Cardet 2. Half: PPC 34-29.