PALMETTO — Southeast leading scorer Ronald Taylor grew tired of waiting for the whistle Friday afternoon at the Palmetto Turkey Classic.
The sophomore, who scored 30 points in Seminoles’ season opener, was stuck on 14 points and made no effort to hide his frustration after crashing to the floor several times in the second half with no foul called.
Meanwhile, Southeast watched as its 22-point lead was shaved to four with less than two minutes to play.
Taylor decided to get tough.
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He stormed the rim — scoring seven points in a 50-second span, five of them resulting from offensive rebounds — to lift the Seminoles to a 72-61 victory over Booker.“It comes to a point,” Taylor said, “where you have to stop worrying about what the officials are calling and just play. At the end of the game, I just said I wanted the ball. It didn’t matter what happened in the paint.”
Taylor finished with 21 points and a team-high seven assists, and big man Cecil Richardson added 18 points and eight rebounds for Southeast (2-0).
The Tornadoes (1-2) trailed 63-59 with 1:45 to play before Taylor caught fire. He had putbacks on consecutive possessions, the second one resulting in a traditional three-point play, and drove to the bucket and hit two free throws to give the Seminoles a 68-61 lead with 1:07 left.
“He thought he was getting a little extra contact,” first-year Southeast coach Floyd Watkins said of Taylor. “It might have been a brief distraction, but he’s the type of kid that’s always going to bounce back. He always finds a way to right the ship and ends up doing what he usually does.”
Palmetto routed Manatee for the second time in 10 days, this time 82-37, in the second game of the Turkey Classic. Southeast and Palmetto will play what amounts to a championship game — they were scheduled to play each other regardless of Friday’s outcomes — at 8 p.m. Saturday. Booker and Manatee will meet at 6 p.m.