Boys basketball | Palmetto beats nemesis North Port for Class 7A-District 10 championship

adell@bradenton.comFebruary 8, 2014 

Staff Photographer

Palmetto High School's Jordan Young, right, gets ready to pass to a teammate during Wednesday's district semifinal against Lakewood Ranch High School at Palmetto. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

PAUL VIDELA — pvidela@bradenton.com Buy Photo

NORTH PORT -- Playing against a loud, boisterous crowd that booed them unmercifully in pregame warmups and throughout the game, the Palmetto Tigers never lost their poise in recording their biggest victory of the season.

Behind a monster game from Jordan Young, the Tigers avenged two regular-season losses to North Port with a 70-47 victory to capture the Class 7A-District 10 boys basketball tournament on Friday night.

Jordan was a one-man wrecking crew. The 6-foot-7 senior poured in 23 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and registered three blocked shots. He scored 19 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 10 rebounds in the final period.

Jarrid Rhodes, the other half of Palmetto's twin towers, contributed 21 points and pulled in four rebounds.

Stepvon Saunders also came up big with 11 rebounds and three steals to go along with seven points.

"I just tried to do as much as I could to help my team. I knew I had to step up and get on the boards," said Young, who recently returned after missing five games due to an ankle injury. "Tonight, I just thought about winning the game and doing as much as I could to help. The crowd booing us gave us motivation. We all wanted this one bad and had a lot of energy."

The game was a lot closer than the final score. Palmetto (21-5) led 23-22 at halftime after a back-and-forth first half and took a 41-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers pulled away from North Port (22-5) with their defense in the second half, trapping and switching all over the floor while utilizing a combination of man-to-man and zone defense.

North Port connected on only 2 of 20 field goal attempts in the final period. After cutting their deficit to 45-38 with seven minutes left in the game, the Bobcats missed nine straight shots and committed four turnovers.

Young drained a trey and followed with a driving layup to give the Tigers their biggest lead at 50-38 with 6:24 left in the game. Terry Collins knifed through the North Port defense for a key basket, Rhodes drove in for a layup, and Young got a tip in to push the lead to 56-42 with 4:20 remaining.

Rhodes had 16 points in the second half, including eight points in the fourth quarter, and converted 6 of 7 shots after intermission.

"This is a big time double-double for Jordan in a district championship game. He controlled the boards down the stretch. We felt if he used his athleticism he would get some significant rebounds," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "The last five or six possessions he controlled the boards, and we outlet the ball and got some good things going. In the previous two games defensively we missed a lot of responsibilities."

In the second half, Palmetto limited North Port to eight field goals on 35 shots. For the game, the Bobcats shot 15-of-60, while the Tigers were 19-for-49.

Palmetto will be at home Thursday for its region quarterfinal game against District 9 runner-up East Lake, which lost to Seminole.

"North Port is a great team. If we win Thursday, I expect to see them again," Bellamy said. "What we do well is rebound and go. This was loudest crowd that was against us this year. I am ready to get out of here."

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