SEMINOLE -- Facing the end of their careers, the seniors on the Palmetto boys basketball team called a players-only meeting at halftime.
"They did all the talking," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "The senior leadership said we need to box out and we need to share the basketball. That was a team communication at halftime. It wasn't Coach Bellamy."
They didn't want to go out this way, looking uninspired and sluggish in their Class 7A-Region 3 semifinal Tuesday night at Seminole.
The Tigers (23-5) outscored Seminole (20-4) by 16 points in the second half and emerged from the Warhawks' raucous gym with a 56-50 victory.
"We said we had to wake up and play with intensity. We didn't have any energy in the first half. We weren't boxing out. We weren't getting in the lanes," Jarrid Rhodes said.
Whatever was said rang a bell because the Palmetto team that took the floor in the second half didn't resemble the squad that trailed by 10 at halftime.
Palmetto will be home at 7 p.m. Saturday in the region final against Melbourne, which defeated Stuart Martin County 59-56 in another region semifinal.
In the first half, Seminole shot 10-for-23 from the floor.
In the second half, the Warhawks were 5-of-24 from the field and 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. They had only one field goal on 11 attempts in the fourth quarter, and Palmetto outrebounded them 10-3 in the final period after getting beat on the boards 17-11 in the first three quarters.
"We had intensity from the opening of second half till the end; that was the difference," Rhodes said. "Offensively, we were rushing stuff and not running any of our offensive sets. The second half we boxed out and got off some good shots and some layups. It feels good to go to the region final, but we are trying to get to states."
Palmetto scored only six points in the second quarter and trailed 27-17 at intermission, shooting 2-for-10 in the second period while Seminole drained 6 of 10 shots.
Palmetto opened the second half on a 14-2 run and took a 31-29 lead with 4:16 left in the third period on back-to-back treys by Rhodes.
Seminole led 46-41 with 6:45 left in the game when the Tigers put together their last push.
Jordan Young, who has been the Tigers' top point producer in the playoffs, scored six points sandwiched around a putback by Terry Collins to push Palmetto ahead 49-47 with 3:30 remaining. Seminole tied it at 49 on two free throws with 3:08 on the clock.
Young got a layup with 1:16 left in the game for a 54-50 Palmetto lead. Collins got a steal and made one foul shot to make it 55-50 with 25 seconds left. Seminole missed a shot. Stepvon Saunders got a rebound and hit one from the charity stripe to account for the final score with 11.1 seconds left.
Young led all scorers with 20 points, connecting on 7 of 12 shots from the field, and hauled in a team-high eight rebounds. Rhodes, who had been fighting a bad back in the last couple games, tallied 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting and had four rebounds.
The Tigers finished 21-for-45 from the field and were 10-for-16 from the free-throw line and 4-of-11 on treys. Seminole shot 15-of-47 from the field and 6-of-23 on treys and were 12-of-18 from the stripe.
"We weren't nervous, but that crowd was tough. This is a tough place to play," Bellamy said. "Between this and North Port, we played before some loud crowds. We didn't want to feed their fire tonight. My biggest worry tonight was their crowd."