LARGO — Northeast pulled off a stunning 65-59 victory Wednesday over Boca Ciega in the Class 5A-12 district semifinals that abruptly ended the season for the Pirates (22-3), a team many had predicted would make a run at a state title.
Northeast coach Dave Redding, who is in his 31st year as head coach, called it the biggest upset in Pinellas County history as the Vikings (12-15) held Pirates guard Dallas Moore, who had scored 30 in each of his past three games, to just three points.
"I don't know if I should jump in excitement or cry in joy," said Northeast forward Andres Sanchez, who scored a game-high 27 and grabbed 12 rebounds. "No one gave us a chance, but we knew we could play with them."
The Vikings (12-15), who had lost by double digits in three regular-season losses to the Pirates, built an early seven-point lead, but then fell victim to a 25-3 run by the Pirates. The Pirates were poised to run away with things when Kenny Smith (20 points) hit a jumper to make the score 46-30.
Patrick Mitchell then made a layup and Sanchez scored the Vikings' next 14 points during a 16-2 run. The Vikings broke through on a layup by Harris for a 57-56 lead with a little less than two minutes to play. The Pirates turned the ball over on their next two possessions.
Smith hit a 3-pointer with a minute left to bring the Pirates within two, but the Vikings sealed the game on two free throws and a layup off a missed jumper by the Pirates.
Kyonn Smith scored 21 and had 17 rebounds to lead the Pirates.
Northeast will face Gibbs on Friday after the Gladiators earned a 65-60 comeback victory over Largo. Quincy Ford scored 25 and Gary Simon 18 as Gibbs recovered from a 16-point deficit in the second quarter.