Advertisement
  1. Sports

Region basketball final: Sickles 55, Melbourne 49

Sickles High's (3) Bryce Beamer drives through Melbourne's (12) Keon Smith, left, and Adriel Rosa (22) during the boys basketball Class 8A region final at Sickles High School in Tampa Friday (2/24/17).
Sickles High's (3) Bryce Beamer drives through Melbourne's (12) Keon Smith, left, and Adriel Rosa (22) during the boys basketball Class 8A region final at Sickles High School in Tampa Friday (2/24/17).
Published Feb. 25, 2017

TAMPA — Sickles was able to enjoy staying on its home court throughout the Class 8A region playoffs, and by the end of the night Friday, a good 100 or so fellow students rushed to join them.

A boisterous bunch of Gryphons fans stormed the court, a scene that visiting Melbourne did its best to prevent, hanging around throughout before Sickles held on for the 55-49 region final victory.

They cut down the nets afterward, and if the Gryphons keep on this run, they may repeat the scene in Lakeland. That's where Sickles will face Lakewood Ranch next Friday at 2 p.m.

"We can play a lot better, too," said Denari Garrett, who was the first-half force, scoring 12 of his 14 points.

He could be right: Sickles won despite usual leading scorer Bryce Workman being held to seven points. Melbourne's Jayden Jackson came up with five blocks, three on Workman despite giving up 4 inches to the 6-foot-7 junior.

Sickles (28-4) led 6-0 and never trailed, but Melbourne (24-7) never went away either. A 10-0 run had the Gryphons up 43-30 with 6:45 left, but the Bulldogs trimmed it to three in the final minute.

Bryce Beamer, who led Sickles in actual points (16) and timely ones, nailed three free throws in the final minute as a 5-for-6 Gryphon stretch locked it away.

But there were plenty of nervous points in between. Garrett's steal and driving dunk, followed by a 3 from Tahj Lalanne (nine points) had Sickles up 15-6. But at 18-8, Workman picked up his second foul and sat the remaining 6:20 of the first half.

"I knew I had to come through in the first half. My team needed me with Bryce in foul trouble," Garrett said.

He scored twice as Sickles took a 24-12 lead with 3:20 left — but out of a timeout Melbourne turned aggressive and went on a quick 8-0 run.

A couple of Beamer baskets in the final minute, one a clutch turnaround jumper, allowed Sickles a 28-22 halftime lead. Jalin Hannah had four points and three first-half assists while Workman was out.

Dru Nickson (14) and Jackson combined to score all of Melbourne's first-half points, and the Bulldogs went 0-for-4 from long range. But that changed in the second half as Jackson was shut out but the long ball kept Melbourne in it.

After the Gryphons went up 33-24, Melbourne hit consecutive 3s. Then Lalanne scored off a steal to begin a 10-0 Sickles run, highlighted by a wild 30 seconds where Sickles scored six; Marcus Cohen had two fast break layups and an incredible rejection.

"I was waiting for that!" said Cohen, who was scoreless in the first half but finished with seven points and six assists. "At halftime the coaches told me to use my speed on the fast break, and the chance finally came where I could use it to penetrate."

Despite the sequence, where the crowd reached the night's height for delirium, Melbourne had one last surge thanks to a pair of 3-pointers. Nickson, who scored 25, drained a 25-footer to make it 45-40 and a steal — Sickles only committed eight turnovers — got the Bulldogs within 45-42.

Strategy got interesting from there, as with 2:30 remaining Melbourne had only committed two fouls and showed no inclination to foul. Sickles could have held the ball but Beamer scored instead, answered immediately by a Bulldogs bucket and Sickles charging call. That gave Melbourne a tying 3-pointer try that was well off, and the Bulldogs committed five fouls in seven seconds to start Sickles' last-minute parade to the line.

"It's been a while (seven years) since we've been to the final four. That crowd tonight was the best in my four years here," Cohen said.

And though he's been at it a while, and done the region title thing once before, Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia savored the trimming of the nets afterward.

"Feels so good," he tweeted.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) leads the celebration as players contratulate right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) after he beat Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) to tie the game 3-3 in the final moments during third period action at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Tampa. The Lightning went on to win 4 to 3 in the shootout.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay went from sixth place in the Atlantic Division to second behind a 10-game win streak.
  2. USF senior point guard Laquincy Rideau (3) drives in the first half of his team's 55-54 loss Saturday at UCF. [Photo provided by UCF Athletics] [UCF Athletics]
    The Bulls coach doesn’t hold back following his team’s controversial 55-54 loss in Orlando
  3. NFL Championship Sunday and more sports on the air.
  4. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.
  5. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  6. He is a Yankee icon. One of baseball's greatest ambassadors. And soon, he will be a Hall of Famer. But did Jeter's reputation exceed his actual value on the field? [GENE J. PUSKAR  |  Associated Press]
    John Romano | The Yankees shortstop might join former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Fame selections, but his defensive abilities left a lot to be desired.
  7. Yesterday• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State forward Malik Osborne dances with his teammates during player introductions before their game against Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State, in a three-way tie atop the ACC standings, goes on the road Saturday in search of its ninth straight victory.
  8. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  9. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) gets beaten by a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) as Lightning's Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. [JOHN WOODS  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay pours on the goals with seven total, including two from Nikita Kucherov.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) celebrates his goal, the first of the game, along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) and center Tyler Johnson (9) beating New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay also reassigned Alex Volkov to AHL Syracuse as Pat Maroon returned to the lineup.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement