By Dave Brousseau
LAKELAND – Schoolhouse Prep let its chance at playing for a boys Class 2A state basketball championship slip away.
Up by 12 points early in the fourth quarter the Wolfpack saw their lead evaporate only to lose 56-54 in overtime to Impact Christian in a semifinal game at the RP Funding Center on Wednesday.
Schoolhouse Prep (20-9) became the first Miami=Dade boys basketball team to lose in back-to-back state semifinal games since Miami Northwestern in 2000-01.
“Hats off to them for making one more play down the stretch,” said Schoolhouse Prep coach Colin Campbell. “Just like we went up 12 with the big run and they did a good job responding. Near the end of the game when it got tight guys needed to make free throws. Unfortunately, we didn’t do so today.”
Tied at 49-49, the Wolfpack had an opportunity to regain the lead with 15.6 second left in regulation. That was squashed when guard Jimel Cofer Jr. missed a pair of free throws.
Overall Schoolhouse Prep was 7 of 16 from the line (43.8 percent). The Lions (19-8), who will play Orlando Christian Prep in Friday’s championship, was 11 of 16 at the line.
Anthony Lopez Jr. and Saint Jean Cedrick each ad 15 points to lead the Wolfpack. Joe-Luis Benitez added 10 points.
Schoolhouse opened the second half on fire by draining three 3-pointers to take a 32-29 lead after trailing by six at the break.
Saint Jean made a pair of 3-pointers that helped School house battle back.
The Wolverines shot a miserable 30 percent from the field in the first half, but somehow managed to stay close to Impact 27-21.
The Lions possesses the lead mainly on the fact they made three 3-pointers on eight attempts, while Schoolhouse was 0-6 from long distance.
IMPACT CHRISTIAN 56, SCHOOLHPOUSE PREP 54 (OT)
IC (19-8): Bryant 3-0-7, Jackson 4-7-15, Grant 3-1-9, Johnson 6-2-14, Knowles 3-0-8, Lawson 0-1-1, Harrell 1-0-2.
SHP (20-9): Williams 1-1-3, Ji. Cofer 1-0-2, Ja. Cofer 3-0-7, Lopez 6-2-15, Benitez 4-2-10, Wright 1-0-2, Saint Jean 5-2-15.
3-pointers: Grant 2, Knowles 2, Bryant, Saint Jean 3, Ja. Cofer, Lopez. Half: IC 27-21.