Summit Christian, Grandview Prep win semifinals, to meet Thursday for Class 1A state title
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
by Jeff Greer
When it was all over, Grandview Prep's Ismaila Dauda smiled wide - he could hardly contain his excitement.
Hours after his team defeated Tallahassee-Florida A&M 78-65 in the Class 1A state semifinals, Dauda watched Summit Christian upset Orlando Christian 42-41, setting up an all Palm Beach County championship game 12:05 p.m. Thursday at the Lakeland Center.
"It's going to be so nice for the Palm Beach County teams to play together," said the 6-foot-9 Dauda, before adding, "but now, that's all over. (Thursday) we are going to battle it out."
The all-Palm Beach County final will be the first state basketball final since Cardinal Newman topped Pope John Paul II in the Class 3A final in 1999.
To get to Thursday's final, Summit Christian (27-4) had to beat an Orlando Christian (24-6) team that had won three consecutive 1A titles and was ESPN's No. 31 team in the nation. The Saints used a physical defense and a few timely shots from junior Farad Cobb.
Cobb, a 6-foot guard, finished with 20 points, opening the game with a pair of three-pointers. But his late-game heroics saved Summit.
After Orlando Christian rallied from a 24-17 halftime deficit to take a 39-37 lead, Cobb hit a three-pointer with 3:20 to play.
Orlando Christian responded with a basket, but then Cobb sank a floater from the right side along the baseline to give his team the 42-41 lead that would hold for the final 2:25 of the game.
"I told him when I met him: He can shoot it any time he wants," Summit Christian coach Murray Smith said. "He's smart enough to know that any time he wants is also when I want."
It was Cobb who seemed the most confident before his team left for Lakeland. Turns out he had good reason.
His opening salvo gave his team the early lift it needed. Senior forward Jean Prophete, the reigning Palm Beach Post Player of the Year, then carried the load for his team inside. Prophete bullied his way to 14 points and seven rebounds.
Along with 6-8 center Brandon Williams, Prophete provided Summit the height and physicality that Orlando Christian lacked in the interior.
"We knew people would label us as the underdog," Prophete said. "Look what we did. It had to be physical."
Much like Summit, Grandview (27-2) used its physical advantages to control much of its semifinal. FAMU High (23-9) kept pace early on, but Grandview pulled away in the second quarter thanks to its 68-percent shooting clip.
Dauda had 19 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. And the guard trio of Daniel Garga (16 points), Ivan Canete (14) and Eric Mance (13) shot a combined 15-of-30 from the field, including two thunderous dunks from Garga.
"We've got some guys who can really shoot," Grandview Prep coach Joe Dawson said. "This is a special team. We're a very unselfish team."
How Grandview's lengthier guards match up with Summit's smaller perimeter players will be the difference Thursday. There's no doubt Dauda will have a war on his hands against Prophete and Williams, but that trio should produce regardless.
"It's going to be a physical, fun game," Dauda said.
"We've got to come back down to earth between now and tomorrow," said Smith, who coached Cardinal Newman back in 1999 when the Crusaders beat Pope John Paul II. "But as time wears on, they'll be ready to play.
"My only concern is OK, we beat the best team up here. Now what's next? Well, we haven't won the state championship yet One of us is going to get the headlines."