Posted: 2:02 pm Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
By Jodie Wagner
Grandview Prep is one win away from advancing to its eighth straight state tournament in boys basketball, an impressive feat considering the quality of competition in South Florida.
With its 54-51 win against Hialeah-Champagnat Tuesday in the regional semifinals, the defending state champion Pride has one hurdle remaining in its bid for an FHSAA Finals berth, though it’s a big one.
Miami-Calusa Prep is Grandview’s opponent in Friday’s regional finals. The Colts, who feature a pair of veteran guards in seniors Abel Seda and Daniel Fernandez, are no strangers to post-season competition.
The Pride, though, has played solid basketball for more than a month now, having won 13 of its past 14 games.
“We’ve been playing our best basketball during playoff time,” Pride coach Joe Dawson said. “It’s really come together nicely at the end. The kids have all bought in. They all understand the team comes first.”
Grandview is young — Dawson starts three juniors and two sophomores — but experienced in the backcourt with junior guards Jamal Palmer and Jordan Coblin leading the way.
Palmer averages 23 points and Coblin chips in 17 per game, while sophomore point guard Juwan Frazier is a consistent threat from three-point range.
Junior forward Abdul Dial and sophomore center Jack Marcelin also play key roles for the Pride, who’ve made huge improvements on defense during the course of the season, Dawson said.
“Early on in the season we were giving up way too many points,” he said. “Now we’re settling down and we’re keeping them in the 40s and 50s, which is what we like.”