By Dave Brousseau
COCONUT CREEK – Taravella unintentionally gave Deerfield Beach numerous opportunities to potentially win the District 12-7A boys basketball championship.
Instead of nearly letting a 13-0 run to open the game slip away, Taravella rallied from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Bucks 54-52 at Monarch High on Wednesday.
It was the Trojans (16-5) first district title in school history and will host a regional quarterfinal game on Thursday.
“Tempo and getting some stops were key in the final quarter,” said Taravella coach Brent Maffett. “We had to weather the storm late. The guys had the will to win.”
Down 52-48 following Deerfield free throw with 2:19 left in regulation, senior guard Kirby Dumay drained a 3-pointer with 1:52 left with as the Bucks hung on for a one-point lead.
A pair of made free throws by Dumay and another by Matt Dolce with 32.1 seconds remaining gave the Trojans a two-point lead.
The Bucks (15-7) had numerous looks at tying the score as time wound down but couldn’t get a shot to drop.
The Trojans trailed 51-41 with 5:08 to play before snapping a Deerfield Beach 8-0 run on a 3-pointer from Dolce. Taravella ended the game on a 13-1 run.
“People never expected us to be successful of do anything,” said Maffett. “The guys have believed since day one, worked hard and became just a blue-collared team. This has been a long journey.”
Taravella was led by Jalen McKenzie with a game-high 19 points, while Dolce and Stephen Mills each added 10 points.
The Bucks got 18 points from Rowan Rowe and 14 points from Kiya McQueen. Deerfield will have to wait to see if they have qualified for the regionals.
TARAVELLA 54, DEERFIELD BEACH 52
T (16-5): Dumay 3-1-7, McKenzie 5-8-19, Mills 5-0-10, Francois 4-0-8, Dolce 3-2-10.
DB (): Glass 0-2-2, West 1-1-3, Rowe 6-1-18, Miller 2-1-5, Valcourt 1-0-2, Mereus 3-0-8, McQueen 5-4-14.
3-pointers: Dolce 2, McKenzie, Rolle 5, Mereus 2. Half: DB 31-29.