TAMPA — Last month, Alonso’s boys basketball team withstood a furious rally to beat Wharton for the first time in school history.
On Wednesday, the Ravens did it again.
With the score tied at 56, Alonso called a timeout in the waning seconds to set up a final shot. Kamalii Findlay fired from long range, but it was short.
Sager Cavalier was stationed underneath the basket. He grabbed the ball on the errant shot and tipped it in at the buzzer to lead the Ravens to a 58-56 victory.
Cavalier insists it was more of a pass to him than a shot that was off the mark.
“In a way it was kind of planned,” he said. “It was a screen-and-roll with myself and Kamalii. When he put the shot up, he made it seem like a shot to open up the hole. So he kind of lobbed it, and I was able to put it in.”
Unlike the first meeting three weeks ago, Alonso (16-3) got off to a slow start. In the third quarter, the Ravens trailed 33-22.
Slowly, they chipped away at the deficit by feeding the ball inside to Findlay and Cavalier, as well as hitting some timely outside shots. DJ Gooden had the biggest ones, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 38 seconds left to tie it at 56.
The Ravens got the ball back, setting up the final shot.
“I’d be lying if I said that’s what we drew up for the final shot, but we got the result we wanted,” Alonso coach Todd Price said.
Findlay finished with a team-high 14 points, and Cavalier and Jordan Savage each added 12.
Wharton (16-4), meanwhile, had its five-game win streak snapped. The Wildcats’ four losses this season have been by a combined seven points. UCF signee Darin Green Jr. led Wharton with 22 points.