Posted: 7:16 pm Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Hoops: Jupiter, Palm Beach Lakes size up top-ranked opponents in regional finals 

By Jeff Greer

Florida only has 64 teams left in its playoffs, and after Saturday night’s games, it’ll be down to 32. Let’s break down the four Palm Beach County and one Treasure Coast teams chances of winning in the regional finals.

Jupiter coach John Andersen acknowledged almost immediately after his team’s regional semifinal win that the next step would be the most challenging. With state-ranked Deerfield Beach on tap, Jupiter must find some answers, on the road, for Deerfield’s massive and athletic lineup. In Blanche Ely, Palm Beach Lakes faces the daunting task of unseating a state champ on its home court, one of the most vaunted places to play in Florida.

And don’t forget Martin County on the large-schools level. The Tigers have a fantastic chance to get to Lakeland, with long-time playoff power St. Petersburg coming to town.

On the small-schools side, St. Andrew’s must advance to Lakeland without Asil Kalkavan, who severely injured his ankle in the regional semifinals and most likely won’t play Saturday. Grandview Prep wants to return to state for the seventh consecutive season, and must do so against new kids on the block, First Baptist.

Here’s Saturday’s schedule. All games tip off at 7 p.m. Admission is $7.

8A
Wekiva at Hagerty
Jupiter at Deerfield Beach
University at Wharton
Hialeah Gardens at South Miami

7A
Ed White at Evans
St. Petersburg at Martin County
Oak Ridge at Bartow
Palm Beach Lakes at Ely

6A
Pine Forest at Ridgeview
Largo at Winter Haven
Gainesville at Edgewater
Fort Myers at Miami Norland

5A
Rickards at Bishop Kenny
Lake Wales at Jesuit
Eustis at Palatka
Lely at Plantation American Heritage

4A
East Gadsden at Raines
Berkeley Prep at St. Andrew’s
Williston at Lake Highland Prep
University at Ransom Everglades

3A
Providence at Father Lopez
Cardinal Mooney at Naples Community
Florida Air at Tampa Prep
Coral Springs Christian at Westminster Christian

2A
North Florida Educational at First Academy
First Baptist at Grandview Prep
Orlando Christian Prep at Vanguard
Zion Lutheran at Westwood Christian

1A
Malone at Holmes County
Hamilton County at Hawthorne
Cottondale at West Gadsden
Union County at Baldwin

GETTING TO KNOW THE TEAMS

JUPITER AT DEERFIELD BEACH

JUPITER
Record: 20-5
Road/neutral court record: 11-4
Points per game: 48.2
Opponents points per game: 41.8
Team FG%: 35.3
Team 3PT%: N/A
Team FT%: 57.9
Best wins: Suncoast (12/4) 72-56; Atlantic 77-68; Lake Worth 69-62; four wins over Wellington.
Who did they lose to?: Palm Beach Lakes twice; Martin County; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.); Plantation-American Heritage.
How they reached the region final: Beat Park Vista 46-35 and Wellington 53-32.
State appearances: 4. No state titles.
Scouting report: This is a fantastic offensive rebounding squad predicated on no-help man-to-man defense that extends out to halfcourt. Defenders are taught to funnel penetration toward 6-foot-11 FAU signee Grant Pelchen, who alters shots with his wingspan and reach without leaving his feet. Pelchen can sometimes get in foul trouble, but he’s increasingly smarter with his foul distribution.

On offense, 6-4 wing Mike Edgley (12.7 ppg) is the main scorer. A streaky 3-point shooter, Edgley’s at his best in transition and attacking the basket. He’s more athletic than he appears, and will likely end up at a lower-level or mid-major Division I program. JD DePasquale directs traffic and creates offense with his penetration, but he’s not a scorer (his 20 points against Wellington being the exception). Guards Roderick Blue and Chase Troiano can hit open jumpers, and sixth-man Evan Zabriski (8.1 ppg) is the second-best scorer on the team. Zabriski, a 6-5 Euro forward, is a major matchup problem. Pelchen scores about nine, mostly on putbacks.

DEERFIELD BEACH
Record: 25-4
Home record: 11-0
Points per game: 65.1
Opponents points per game: 44.9
Team FG%: 51
Team 3PT%: 41
Team FT%: 70
Best wins: Orlando-Boone; La Salle (Ohio); Cardinal Gibbons.
Who did they lose to?: Sagemont; Ballard (Ky.); Blanche Ely twice.
How they reached the region final: Beat Miramar 69-28 and Cypress Bay 54-34.
Scouting report: Deerfield possesses some serious size and builds its offense around 6-3 guard Terence Johnson and 6-4 guard Marcus Owens. That duo accounts for 33 points a game. Vanderbilt Carpenter, a 6-foot junior lead guard, is the offense’s engine. He dishes out six assists and scores 9.5 points a game. Javaris Jenkins (6-6) and Josh Huntley (6-8) are the key interior scorers. Then Deerfield can bring in 6-9 junior Solomon Kelly.

Defensively this is a lengthy group that doesn’t produce the stats you’d expect for such a sizable squad. Deerfield only blocks about four shots and steals about eight passes a game. But the Bucks make up for that with rebounding, hauling in close to 40 boards a game.

The key to the game: You guessed it — rebounding. Deerfield has serious size across its entire lineup and off the bench. Jupiter is built on one-shot defensive possessions and offensive rebounding. Games rarely break the 100-points-combined mark. This one won’t surpass 100 points, and it will likely be closer than anticipated. Jupiter plays disciplined basketball and has a shot, but Deerfield Beach is the biggest opponent Jupiter’s seen this season.

PALM BEACH LAKES AT BLANCHE ELY

PALM BEACH LAKES
Record: 22-3
Road/neutral record: 12-2
Points per game: 68.9
Opponents points per game: 51.2
Team FG%: 43
Team 3PT%: 29
Team FT%: 72
Best wins: Jupiter twice; Atlantic; Suncoast twice; Lake Worth; Wellington.
Who did they lose to?: Grandview Prep; Royal Palm Beach; Summit Christian.
How they reached the region final: Beat Lake Worth 74-55 and Royal Palm Beach 52-43.
Scouting report: Palm Beach Lakes plays the kind of game that would make Nolan Richardson or Mike Anderson proud. The Rams run for 32 consecutive minutes. They can play halfcourt games, but they don’t want to. They speed up opponents, especially lead guards, with frenetic trapping and a fullcourt press. In the halfcourt, Lakes typicall sticks to man and plays it very well, helping out on bigger offensive players to minimize Lakes’ usual height disadvantage. Gito St. Fort and Quinn Cole are tenacious open-space defenders and generate turnovers with their lengthy arms and deflections. Quincy Rideau, JD Coleman and Kamil Williams are indefatigable on-ball defenders, pressing the ball handler 92 feet.

Offense comes from defense for Lakes. The Rams want layups and transition baskets through their primary and secondary breaks. Compacted into halfcourt sets, Coleman and Rideau are the dribble-drive creators. Every single key player on Lakes can consistently make jump shots, including 6-5 post man Max Caines, who can extend out to about 15 feet. Cole is the first player off the bench, and at 6-3 adds some length to Lakes’s otherwise smaller lineup. St. Fort is the X-factor. If he’s active underneath with his unusually long arms, Lakes is usually winning.

BLANCHE ELY
Record: 24-1
Home record: 11-0
Points per game: 71
Opponents points per game: 44.6
Team FG%: 48
Team 3PT%: 35
Team FT%: 63
Best wins: Christ The King (N.Y.); Wellington; Summit Christian; Deerfield Beach twice.
Who did they lose to?: St. John Bosco (Calif.)
How they reached the region final: Beat St. Thomas Aquinas 72-37 and Northeast 70-43.
Scouting report: The nationally ranked Tigers have a reputation as a pressing, running, dominating squad with a deep bench and a ton of scoring options. If reputation is how others perceive you and character is who you actually are, let’s just say Ely’s character and rep are about the same. These guys know they’re good. They play with confidence and poise. They are defending state champs, after all, and this year’s team, despite losing the two top scorers from the 2012 title run, is loaded and primed for another title.

They’ll run teams ragged. They get about 14.5 steals and 25 deflections a game. Every position has a long, athletic kid in it, be they a starter or a reserve. Richard Lee (6-3 guard) leads the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), 3-pointers made (69) and 3-point percentage (45). Luis Tejada doles out more than eight assists a game and snatches 2.6 steals, too. Darrion Allen (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.2 spg) does a bit of everything, as does Dallas Cameron, who gets 10.4 points, 6.4 assists and three rebounds a game.

Of course the key guy is 6-foot-8 senior Kahlil Thomas, a Rider signee. He’s an animal in the lane, averaging a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds a game, and also blocks nearly three shots a contest.

Key to the game: Both teams want to run. Both teams want to overwhelm the opponent with their pressure defense. Both teams chuck a lot of 3-pointers. Both teams possess a ton of athletic prowess. The biggest difference is experience, so how Lakes’s young guards handle the Ely press will be huge. And if Lakes can somehow rattle Ely’s cage a bit, maybe the Rams can get what would be a tremendous upset over the state-favorite Tigers.

BERKELEY PREP AT ST. ANDREW’S

ST. ANDREW’S
Record: 22-3
Home record: 16-0
Points per game: 61.2
Opponents points per game: 47
Team FG%: n/a
Team 3PT%: n/a
Team FT%: n/a
Best wins: Dunbar; Bishop Verot
Who did they lose to?: Cardinal Newman; Orland-First Academy; Pine Crest.
How they reached the region final: Beat Dunbar 63-56 and Bishop Verot 48-41.
Scouting report: Built around 5-10 lead guard George Andino and 6-4 wing Jovan Lawson, the Scots most likely must play without third scorer Asil Kalkavan, who damaged ligaments in his ankle in the regional semifinals.

St. Andrew’s plays good, hard defense and relies on Andino to create offense. A quick 5-10 guard, he can get into the lane. He’s a good passer and scorer, and Lawson’s size makes him tough to guard at this level.

BERKELEY PREP
Record: 22-7
Road/neutral record: 10-3
Points per game: 68.4
Opponents points per game: 53.4
Team FG%: 46
Team 3PT%: 32
Team FT%: 63
Best wins: Florida Air Academy; Pine Crest; Tampa Catholic three times.
Who did they lose to?: Lake Highland Prep; Tampa Prep twice; Ransom Everglades; Tampa Catholic; Jesuit; Auburndale.
How they reached the region final: Beat DeSoto County 73-43 and Tampa Catholic 87-65.
Scouting report: Berkeley Prep started 13-0 and is 9-7 since. But don’t be fooled — the 2012 state semifinalists have played one of the toughest schedules in Class 4A. Lake Highland Prep, Tampa Prep and Ransom Everglades are all top-quality losses, and none of Berkeley Prep’s seven losses were blowouts.

Don’t know a ton about this team, other than its trio of junior scorers — Craig Bowman, Justin Gray and Marshall Holmes — are all 6-2 or taller. They’ll be matchup problems for St. Andrew’s.

Key to the game: Watch how St. Andrew’s does without Kalkavan. He’s a key member of the squad that has coach John O’Connell one win away from his third trip to state. Down their third scorer, the Scots need to find a new option. If they can, especially at home, they could get O’Connell to Lakeland. They haven’t lost at home this season.

FIRST BAPTIST AT GRANDVIEW PREP

GRANDVIEW PREP
Record: 27-2
Home record: 10-1
Points per game: 69.7
Opponents points per game: 53.2
Team FG%: 54
Team 3PT%: 45
Team FT%: 73
Best wins: Palm Beach Lakes; Atlantic; Summit Christian.
Who did they lose to?: Sagemont and Coral Springs Christian.
How they reached the region final: Beat Pine 75-36 and Lake Worth Christian 88-66.
Scouting report: Grandview mixes and matches its defensive strategies based on opponent. After struggling in man-to-man against Lakes, Grandview switched to a 2-3 zone and slowed down the fast-paced Rams. The Pride’s length can be problematic for opponents, and coach Joe Dawson, who’s coached Grandview to state each year since 2007, knows how to use his players to win ball games.

Ivan Canete (24 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals a game) is an unbelievable offensive player. He can score going right or left, or stop and pop. His jump shot is smooth, and he hits a solid 47 percent from 3. Sean Walsh and newly healthy Eric Mance really make Grandview tough to defend on the perimeter, as both players can get hot and carry the scoring load. Role players Windale Glinton (6-9 center) and Alex Jones (6-4 forward) provide some height for Grandview’s interior.

FRIST BAPTIST
Record: 25-2
Road/neutral record: 17-2
Points per game: 69.2
Opponents points per game: 43.4
Team FG%: n/a
Team 3PT%: n/a
Team FT%: 60
Best wins: Neumann twice.
Who did they lose to?: Miami-Pace and Punta Gorda-Charlotte.
How they reached the region final: Beat Canterbury 68-29 and Sarasota Christian 71-55.
Scouting report: First Baptist goes about eight- or nine-deep, but mostly revolves around 6-8 big fella Austin Williamson. The senior gets 13.6 points and 9.7 rebounds a game, and he blocks more than two shots. He’s also a monster on the offensive glass — he has almost as many offensive boards (124) as defensive (128). Keeping him off the glass will be a huge factor in Grandview’s success.

Key to the game: Ivan Canete now has two scoring options to work with in Walsh and Mance. Mance’s leg injury prevented him from playing for the most of the season, but he’s already scoring 16 points a game since returning. He has a quick release and a dead-eye shot from anywhere on the floor. As a sophomore at state two years ago, Mance opened some eyes with his quick trigger and streaky shooting.

But everything from here on out rides on two things: Canete getting going and Jones and Glinton handling whichever big man opponents throw at them.

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