The Southeast boys basketball team hung in when things were going bad Tuesday night and pulled out a 62-55 victory over visiting Bayshore in a Class 5A-District 12 quarterfinal.
The win sends the Seminoles on the road Wednesday night to face top-seeded St. Petersburg Gibbs. Southeast head coach Elliot Washington said his team will have to play a lot better to keep its season alive.
On the positive side, the Noles got good contributions from its two 6-foot-4 big men, Isaiah Mays and Raleigh Alexander, who had been out with injuries.
Mays, who is back from a concussion, notched a double-double, scoring 14 points while hauling in 10 rebounds. Alexander had nine points and four rebounds.
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"We played well enough to win," Washington said. "Defensively, we need to play a lot smarter. At the end, we got a chance to go ahead a little and that helped. It's a different season now and anything can happen. Isaiah missed the last two games, and he is our leading rebounder. In the last five games he played, he had been averaging a double-double."
Southeast led 48-47 with 4 minutes, 32 seconds, left in the game when it scored nine straight points to extend the margin to 57-47 with 2:51 on the clock. Antonio Ray led the spurt with five points, including a 3-pointer to end the run.
But Bayshore (6-18) refused to fold and cut its deficit to 59-55 with 26 seconds left when Wesley Jackson completed a three-point
play. Southeast missed two free throws, but the Bruins couldn't connect on a 3-point attempt and ran out of time.
Southeast (15-11) struggled in its only meeting with St. Petersburg Gibbs (20-5), losing at home 69-33 to the Gladiators.
"Both of our inside guys missed the last four games, and it was good to get them back in the groove," Washington said. "We are hoping to go there and play well. We know district is a different season. We got to put a game plan together and come out and play solid basketball. Anything can happen at this stage.
"To win we have to limit their second and third chances. The last couple of games we have allowed teams to shoot the ball and then get their rebounds two or three times. Gibbs is long and athletic. We definitely have to keep them off the boards and do a better job on transition defense because they like to get out and run."
The Noles will have to do a better job on the boards than they did against Bayshore. The Bruins had a huge 35-22 rebounding advantage, led by Tracey Thomas, who hauled in 10 rebounds and scored a team-high 17 points.
Markcene Jean led Southeast with 23 points, connecting on 9 of 13 field-goal attempts, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. The Noles shot 22-for-61 overall, and Bayshore was 19-for-57. DeMarco Syed-Fisher and Jackson scored nine points apiece for the Bruins.
"We played well except for a short stint in the third quarter where we let them get ahead," Bayshore head coach Shawn Campbell. "We fought back, but they were able to outsmart us. We've overcame a lot of adversity this year. I didn't have a key to the weight room until two days ago, and this is the end of my second year here.
"I think with a proper weight program next year you are going to see a difference. Our kids played very hard tonight and I am very proud of them."