7A: Ely trounces St. Pete in 7A final
Unranked Pompano Beach Blanche Ely was hardly a juggernaut throughout the basketball season. In fact, the Tigers stumbled into the regional playoffs, losing six of its final nine games before the playoffs including the district championship game.
But Ely coach Melvin Randall never lost faith in his team. The Tigers, who were the defending champions, hit their stride in the postseason, capping the run in decisive fashion as they defeated St. Petersburg 84-70 on Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the FHSAA Class 7A Boys Basketball State Championships.
“They worked extremely hard,” Randall said. “They could have laid down from losing. Who loves losing? We were in a position where we could have laid down, but everything started coming together and as a result we are state champions. I’m at a loss for words.”
It was Ely’s fourth state title in five years and Randall’s seventh overall as Ely’s head coach.
Junior Geremy Taylor led Ely with a triple double — 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He was one of six Tigers to score in double figures.
William Maloney came off the bench to lead Ely in scoring. After playing less than three minutes through the first three quarters, Maloney scored all of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as Ely practically matched St. Petersburg point for point to maintain its double-digit lead.
Ely took control of the game early in the second quarter. After taking a five-point lead after one quarter, Mark Houston’s 3-pointer to start the second quarter sparked a 13-0 run as the Tigers built an 18-point lead and never looked back. Taylor and Trevor Goodrum led Ely with eight points apiece in the first half.