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4A boys basketball: Smith's dramatic 3-pointer lifts Blake

TAMPA — Blake point guard Andre Smith had fallen to the floor by the time the ball swished through, a shot he later would call the biggest of his life.

Fortunately, his view hadn't been obscured.

"I saw it go in," he said.

Smith's 3-pointer with two seconds left capped a wild finish and propelled the Yellow Jackets to a 56-53 win over Palmetto in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs Thursday night. Blake, which was closed several years after integration before reopening a decade ago, had not won a playoff game since 1969.

"It's got to be No. 1," coach Winston Davis said of Smith's trey.

Down the wire, Smith, who finished with 24 points, took over. In the final 4:20, the junior scored all 12 of Blake's points, and each via 3-pointer. One, a bomb with 30 seconds remaining, gave the Yellow Jackets (25-4) their first lead since the opening quarter.

The Yellow Jackets trailed much of the game as Palmetto (16-8) hit nine 3-pointers.

After Smith put Blake ahead 53-52, Palmetto tied it at the foul line, but missed another with a chance to go back in front. Blake secured the rebound then called timeout, during which the team was given simple instructions: Put the ball in Smith's hands. It did, and he delivered.

"I ain't going to lie," center Mike McFarland said. "I was scared." But, he added, "I knew it was going in."

4A boys basketball: Smith's dramatic 3-pointer lifts Blake 02/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:10pm]
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