Boys basketball | Jordan Young catches fire again as Palmetto drubs East Lake in region quarterfinal

adell@bradenton.comFebruary 14, 2014 

PALMETTO -- For the second straight game, Palmetto used the same formula: Jordan Young rips the heart out of the opponent, and the Tigers' defense finishes it off.

Young poured in 30 points Thursday night, and Palmetto buried the Tarpon Springs East Lake offense as the host Tigers rolled to a 69-48 victory in a Class 7A-Region 3 boys basketball quarterfinal.

Palmetto (22-5) will be on the road Feb. 18 in the region semifinal against Seminole, which defeated North Port 60-57 in another quarterfinal.

The 6-foot-7 Young has been a man on fire since returning from an ankle injury that forced him to miss five games. He buried 4 of 6 attempts from beyond the arc and was 10-for-17 from the field while hauling in 10 rebounds.

In the Tigers' district-clinching victory over North Port on Feb. 7, the senior had 23 points and 22 rebounds. He again took control of the glass in the fourth quarter against East Lake with six rebounds.

"Jordan is starting to identify himself as far as his basketball ability," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "He is playing well on both ends of the court and shooting the ball well from wherever he wants. He made some deep threes. He got to the basket when he wanted to and created some deflections that led to easy buckets."

Young had 15 of Palmetto's 23 first-half points that enabled the Tigers to take a seven-point lead at the break. He scored 11 in the second quarter, burying three straight 3-pointers without a miss.

"We just had to play hard. It's win or go home," Young said. "I don't worry how

far out I am when I shoot. Coach just told me set my feet and let it fly. Defensively, we were a little sluggish in the beginning, but then it kicked in and (we) got our energy."

The Tigers also got a nice outing and a much-needed big night on the boards from Stepvon Saunders, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and led Palmetto with 15 rebounds.

East Lake (15-10) was hoping to beat the Tigers from 3-point land, but Palmetto's switching zone defense made things difficult. The Eagles hit only 1 of 12 attempts from behind the arc in the first half and made only 5 treys out of 21 attempts for the game.

"We wanted to defend the threes; that is something we worked out because that is such a good three-point shooting team," Bellamy said. "We wanted to make sure we contested their shots and that they worked for their shots. They didn't hit as many threes as they normally do, which is attribute to our length with Young and Jarrid Rhodes out there."

East Lake opened the second half with a driving layup and then buried three straight treys. But Rhodes, who is battling back problems, answered with a layup on a fast break and another driving layup.

The Tigers led 33-29 with three minutes and 15 seconds left in the third quarter when they went on an 11-3 run to go ahead 44-32 with 1:10 remaining in the period. Saunders sparked the run with six points on back-to-back conventional three-point plays.

East Lake shot 19-for-56 from the field. Palmetto connected on 27 of 63 attempts (43 percent) and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Eagles 38-19.

Young also had three steals and two blocks.

"I am still concerned about our defensive intensity and our rebounding as a team and offensively we were a little stagnated tonight," Bellamy said.

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