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ST. PETERSBURG — The Northeast Christmas Invitational championship between Boca Ciega and Northeast on Wednesday was one for the ages.
Whether it was Boca Ciega forward Kyonn Smith going 12-for-13 from the field and 3-for-3 from the line for 27 points, or Northeast do-it-all forward Andres Sanchez scoring 32 and grabbing 14 rebounds or the Pirates’ D.J. White having a rim-rocking dunk on his way to 14 points, six assists and nine rebounds or the Vikings’ Patrick Mitchell hitting shots from all over for 17 points, this game had it all, including seven lead changes and 10 moments when the teams were tied.
In the end of the Pirates’ 86-75 overtime victory, it became the Kenny Smith show as the Boca Ciega guard put the Pirates on his back, scoring 12 points in a row, including an NBA-range buzzer-beating jumper, during a 12-2 run over the end of the third period and beginning of the fourth to help Boca Ciega go from a 52-42 deficit to a 54-54 tie.
Then, after having scored 12 in the quarter as the teams battled back and forth, Smith, who was playing sick with the flu, came up with a key steal in the backcourt with 20 seconds left in the game and the Pirates trailing 68-66. He raced downcourt between traffic to find Dallas Moore, who calmly sank a 3-pointer from the corner.
Sanchez was fouled by Smith on the ensuing play and a missed runner in the lane, but the Northeast senior converted just one of two free throws as the game went to overtime.
In the extra period, Smith gave the Pirates a 71-69 lead on a swooping layup and the Class 5A No. 8-ranked team in Florida never looked back.
“We did it with heart and hustle,” said Smith, who had 32 points, nine assists, eight steals and six rebounds. “Coach (Randy Shuman) looked at us coming out of the huddle for the fourth quarter and said, ‘If you all want it, go get it.’ That’s what we did. Northeast is a great team, they played tough and they proved a lot, so this was a huge win for us.”