Santa Fe outlasts West Nassau to advance to Class 4A Boys State Championship
Lewis’ late-game layup pushes Raiders to title game
LAKELAND, Fla. (WCJB) - Without Ernest Ross on the floor for Santa Fe’s final possession of the game, and the Raiders trailing by one, Willie Lewis found the ball in his hands on the lower left block, and didn’t miss his shot to send his team to the Class 4A State Championship.
In a game that was a highly anticipated matchup between future Atlantic Coast Conference rivals, Santa Fe’s Ernest Ross, who is committed to North Carolina State, and West Florida’s Dallan Coleman, who will play for Georgia Tech. Only the latter lived up to the hype.
After scoring the game’s opening 6 points, Dallan recorded another 27 over the final three quarters to finish with a game-high 33 points. He was 10-23 from the field, and 9-11 from the foul line.
Ross made a layup and a dunk in transition in the first few minutes of the first, but quickly picked up two fouls and sat out most of the first half after that. He also sat for a brief period to start the third, but after fouling out with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and his team trailing 48-44, he was emotional and inconsolable on the sideline.
His teammates realized their leader was sidelined and picked up the slack.
Point guard Dontrell Jenkins shouldered the load for the Raiders with a team-high 22 points. While Cayvian Wakeley and Lewis combined for 26 points.
The Raiders shot 49 percent as a team from the field, and, most importantly, made 11 of 12 free throws.
The final 30 seconds of the game featured a wild exchange for the lead.
Santa Fe lead 62-60 with 30 seconds left in regulation and after a series of passes, Simeon Womack buried a wide open three in the left corner to vault West Nassau ahead, 63-62.
On the ensuing possion, Jenkins sprinted up the court with the clocking ticking down from 18 seconds. After a couple dribbles to let the clock wind down, he darted down the left side of the lane, drew the defense, and passed it to Lewis, who was wide open, and he laid it off the glass for the go-ahead bucket with 3 seconds left.
West Nassau inbounded the ball, but never got a desperation shot off.
The Raiders survived a see-saw battle to win 64-63, and advance to the state title game against Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest on Saturday.
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