2A: Bradenton Christian Runs Past FAMU
Bradenton Christian used its fast break to build a big first-half lead and its four-corners offense in the second to preserve it Tuesday in the Class 2A semifinals of the FHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships.
The Panthers (27-3) streaked to a 19-6 first-quarter lead that they built to 20 points at the half and went on to defeat Tallahassee FAMU 61-44. They will face undefeated Boca Raton Grandview Prep in the Class 2A championship game tonight at 8:05 at The Lakeland Center.
Along with its fast break, Bradenton Christian benefited from some deadly 3-point shooting from Ryan Leunk to build its 35-15 halftime lead. Leunk scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the first half.
There were two factors in the Panthers’ first-half run — FAMU’s inability to make shots and Bradenton Christian’s ability to rebound.
“We knew they weren’t a great shooting team,” Bradenton Christian coach Scott Townsend said. “Our goal was to pack it in and make them shoot it and get rebounds.”
When it did, it often led to a fast-break opportunity for the Panthers.
“That’s just the way we play the whole year,” said Panthers guard Vincent Rehfeldt, who finished with 13 points. “We want to get as many fast break baskets as we can because we believe we’re one of the fastest teams out there. We wanted to make sure we could rebound first. Once we saw we could do that, we started to leak out.”
The fact that FAMU made just 6 of 25 shots in the first half helped the Panthers.
“It wasn’t just that we were missing shots, it was that we were missing shots and we were not offensive rebounding,” said FAMU coach Sean Crowe. “They were leaking out and our guards weren’t used to that because we’re usually a good offensive rebounding team.”
Even with that, the Baby Rattlers, led by Dizavier Harris and Kaliah Wooden, cut into the Panthers’ lead in the third quarter. Marquis Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer trimmed the lead to seven heading into the fourth quarter.
After building the lead back up to 54-41 with four minutes left, Townsend went to his four-corners offense that he calls “Carolina.”
“We don’t use it much,” Townsend said. “We’ve been practicing it for moments like this. I just wanted to be prepared for what might come our way.”
Harris led FAMU (17-14) with 13 points while Wooden had nine.