Top-seeded Royal Palm Beach boys basketball team enters district playoffs on roll
Sunday, February 03, 2013
by Jeff Greer
Royal Palm Beach High coach Rob Long planned to celebrate his six seniors in style Friday. He crafted a senior night built around Royal Palm's season finale against Cardinal Newman, hoping to end the regular season with a packed gym against a good opponent.
But a scheduling snafu with Newman left Royal Palm gameless, and the Wildcats never got their chance to applaud the careers of their eldest players or tune up for the postseason.
While both schools expressed regret over the misunderstanding, Royal Palm has no time to waste. The Wildcats (17-5) have a District 13-7A semifinal matchup with Forest Hill on Wednesday night, and it could be the start of a promising postseason for Long's squad.
"The kids know what's in front of them, that's for sure," Long said Friday evening.
If the Wildcats and Palm Beach Lakes (21-3) win Wednesday, the 13-7A championship game would be the third meeting between the rivals. In Palm Beach County's other 7A district, Atlantic (19-6) and Lake Worth (21-4) loom.
Those four are the best 7A teams in the county, and their regional quarterfinal and semifinal matchups would constitute must-see basketball. Royal Palm wasn't in the conversation with those other teams until recently, but now the Wildcats very much deserve inclusion.
They have won five in a row and six of seven. Iven Rosier, a diligent point guard who scored 24 second-half points in Royal Palm's Jan. 22 upset of Lakes, gives Long a lead guard he can trust. JoJo Williams, Travis Weatherington and Jimmitry Leblanc balance the scoring a bit.
But Long never likes thinking that far in advance. Even on Friday, with his team's senior night canceled and his disappointment clear, Long knew he wouldn't have much time to dwell.
"We'll get back to it and the kids will keep working hard," he said. "That's what they do."