5A: Poinciana Cruises to 5A Title over Bishop Kenny
Who needs rankings anyway?
Poinciana entered Saturday’s Class 5A state basketball title game against top-ranked Jacksonville Bishop Kenny as the underdog, unranked in FABC/Source Hoops poll. By the time the third quarter was over, it was apparent that the No. 1 team was the one who entered without a ranking.
Brandon Murat scored 14 points and Poinciana, in its first trip to The Lakeland Center, beat Bishop Kenny 66-42 to win the Class 5A championship.
“I’m pretty speechless about the game,” said Poinciana coach Shane Whitsett. “I just thought the kids played lights out, best game of the year. We knew it was going to be tough coming in — I didn’t think we’d beat them so soundly — but these guys played like champions.”
The win marks the first team state title in Poinciana’s history. After taking an 8-point lead into halftime, the Eagles took off. It was an explosive third quarter — fueled by the Poinciana defense — that broke the game wide open.
The Eagles opened on a 12-3 run, forcing seven turnovers in the quarter while pushing the lead to 36-19 with 3:31 to go.
Poinciana hit 10-of-12 shots in the third as Bishop Kenny’s inability to take care of the ball devolved into a string of turnovers that turned the game into a layup line.
“They came out and jumped on us early,” said Bishop Kenny coach Jerry Buckley. “We just weren’t able to respond on either end of the floor. We knew they were very quick. Defensively, they disrupted what we were trying to do.”
The Crusaders pair of Division I commits, Christian Carlyle and Chris Joyce, were quiet in the loss. Carlyle, who will play at Florida Gulf Coast, scored 13 points but turned it over six times.
Meanwhile, Joyce, an Air Force commit, finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds but made just 4-of-13 shots.