This time around, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons finished the deal.
One year after losing an eight-point lead in the final 1:53 of regulation before falling in overtime, the Chiefs (17-0) got a driving layup with 3.8 seconds left by Jose Morales to take the lead for good in a 53-51 win over Deerfield Beach Zion Lutheran in the championship game of the 41st annual Kingdom of the Sun boys basketball tournament at Vanguard High School.
Morales (14 points) took the ball and drove into the paint after the Chiefs set up a play following a timeout with 8.8 seconds left.
From there, Zion Lutheran had a chance to go the length of the court for the second straight night and make something happen.
On Tuesday, they went to Florida commit Keith Stone. This time, he was denied the ball and high-scoring guard Brandon Bornelus got the ball past halfcourt, but Morales stripped it and Maverick Rowan grabbed for Cardinal Gibbons as time expired.
Rowan earned tournament MVP honors after scoring 20 points in the championship game.
For the tournament, he finished with 93 points on 34-of-65 shooting.
Joining Rowan on the all-tournament team from Cardinal Gibbons were Morales and Richard McIntosh.
Meanwhile, Zion was led by Stone, who scored 14 points and blocked four shots.
Cardinal Gibbons, though, held him to 3-of-12 shooting from the floor, but Stone’s jumper with 1:20 left tied the game at 51.
The Chiefs, though, retained possession of the ball until the final 3.8 seconds, as Morales and company were able to get the job done this time.
Cardinal Gibbons, the first team to make consecutive Kingdom championship games since 2005-06, became the first program since 2003 to win the Kingdom title after losing in the finals the previous season.
It was also the first matchup of teams ranked No. 1 from Florida from different classifications to meet in the finals of the Kingdom since 1977 when Vanguard defeated Miami Central.
Cardinal Gibbons trailed by as many as six early in the second half, but a 9-0 run helped them go ahead 39-35 with 2:23 left in the third quarter.
Zion (12-5) kept battling but couldn’t match the miracle win of the previous evening.
Bornelus scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half to back Stone on his way to earning all-tournament honors.
Shimoore Stern of Zion was named the tournament’s Mr. Hustle winner after finishing up with a tournament-leading 37 rebounds.