BRADENTON -- This time Southeast got it right.
After losing twice to Braden River by double digits, including a 28-point pasting, the Seminoles turned the tables -- earning a 58-50 triumph over the Pirates in the semifinals of the Smoothie King Classic on Tuesday at Bradenton Christian.
"Our heart, hustle and energy we brought out was the biggest difference between the first two games," Southeast head coach Floyd Watkins said. "I give Braden River credit for the first two games. They really gave us the business, but the way we play now is better. We play with a lot more intensity."
Another difference this time for Southeast is that it played an efficient fourth quarter and controlled the boards, particularly on the offensive end.
The Seminoles (7-7) had only one turnover in the fourth quarter after committing 15 in the first three, and knocked down 6-of-8 field goal attempts in the final period.
Southeast took a 5-3 lead three minutes into the game and stayed in front until Braden River (6-7) got hot from beyond the arc and went ahead 46-45 with 5:17 left in the game on a three-point play by Deondrick Bacon.
The lead changed hands five times until Corey Davis dropped in two free throws to push the Seminoles ahead 51-50 with 3:08 remaining. Ronald Taylor followed with two free throws for a 53-50 advantage with 2:26 on the clock.
Braden River missed three straight shots, including two from beyond the arc. Mykel Bing got a put-back for Southeast with 30 seconds remaining and Corey Davis slammed down a dunk to account for the final score.
"Our ability to secure some defensive rebounds at the end of the game was the biggest difference maker for us at the end," Watkins said. "Matchup-wise they beat us pretty good the first couple of times. For our guys it was a matter of pride to come out and say 'we can match up with these guys.'"
Davis had 11 points, and Taylor added 12 with Aarien Foster and Greg Alexandrea contributing nine points apiece. Jonathan Colon led Braden River with 13 points, Bacon had 11 and Jacob Garrett contributed nine points.
Braden River nailed 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in the third period to spark its comeback, but the Pirates missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the final period and shot 17-of-43 overall. Southeast connected on 23-54 field goal attempts and controlled the boards 26-13.
"It's extremely tough (to beat a team three times)," Braden River head coach Jason Mickan said. "They play hard; they get offensive rebounds and are athletic. The difference this time was the neutral setting, the tournament and there is a lot of energy in the building. They got to a lot of loose balls. They hustled."
The boys final is slated to tip off at 8 p.m. with Southeast facing Bradenton Christian. The boys third place game is slated for 5 p.m. with Braden River taking on Bayshore.
Manatee ruined the girls part of the tournament for host Bradenton Christian by routing the Panthers in the second half to secure a 64-38 victory.
It was the third straight victory for the Hurricanes (4-10), while the Panthers fell to 6-7. Manatee led 26-18 at the half and then outscored BCS 21-10 in the third period behind Jada Guian, who scored eight of her 14 points in the period.
"We are very happy going to the final. The girls worked very hard to improve. We had a really tough start to the season and are starting to jell," Manatee head coach Betty Tracy said. "We lost our first seven games of the season, so now we're on a bit of a roll and the confidence is building."
Guion shared scoring honors with Bree Thomas, who scored 10 points in the second half. Jacque Armer added 11 points to complete the double figure scoring for Manatee. BCS, which committed 24 turnovers, was led by Katie Swaagman, who scored 13 points and Carley Carbary, who had nine points.
"We didn't box out and we had a bad shooting night. That's about it. Good luck to Manatee," BCS head coach Jim Van Til said.
In other girls semifinal action, Bayshore secured a 56-47 victory over Englewood Lemon Bay (9-8). JoJo Muldoon led the Bruins (11-5) with 19 points and got good support from Taylor Izatt and Joy Norman, who had 16 and 15 points respectively.
In girls consolation games, Sarasota Christian topped St. Petersburg Shorecrest 50-19 and Oldsmar Christian edged Tampa Sickles 40-38.
In boys consolation play Sarasota Christian defeated Manatee 71-49 with Dominick Otteri scoring 10 points to the Hurricanes. Cape Coral dominated Seven Rivers Christian 53-8.
In the girls final, Bayshore will face Manatee Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and Bradenton Christian meets Lemon Bay at 3:30 p.m. for third place.
In boys consolation play, Manatee takes on Seven Rivers at 11 a.m. and Sarasota Christian meets Cape Coral at 2 p.m.
The Bradenton Christian boys, meanwhile, cruised past the Bruins 69-40, earning a spot in the Smoothie King Championship game for the first time since 2009.
"It's such a great feeling, especially doing it in front of our home crowd," Panthers head coach Scott Townsend said.
Bradenton Christian forced the Bruins into 15 turnovers, creating offense in the open court while maintaining a double digit lead throughout most of the game.
"We love to create offense through our defense, it allows us to play with confidence and get into a rhythm," Townsend added.
Bayshore connected on four threes in the first quarter keeping the game close for the first five minutes, but weren't able to maintain the offensive production.
"We just didn't play well, that's a great team over there and we weren't able to play better," Bruins head coach Wilmore Fowler said.
Junior Ryan Leunk lead the Panthers with 17 points and six rebounds, while Jake Lister added 13 points and 7 assists.
Bradenton Christian has averaged 82 points per game during the tournament.
"We've just been hitting shots, the guys are playing and shooting within the offense and they're going in," coach Townsend said.
The team combined for six threes in the first half, even converting on a four point play.
"Those guys just hit tough shots to put us in a hole we couldn't get out of, I mean they hit a three falling out bounds," coach Fowler said. "They play very hard as a team and you add in them hitting shots, they are tough to beat."
Bayshore was lead by Dhysen Walls' 14 points followed by DeMarco Syed-Fisher's 12.
Bradenton Christian will take on the Southeast Semionles at 8pm Wednesday, the first matchup between the two teams this season.