Posted On: 11/29/18 4:01 PM

High school basketball was in the spotlight Wednesday with the playing of the Hoophall Miami Invitational on Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat.

Five of the top programs from Miami-Dade and from Broward counties went head to head with Dade posting a 3-2 victory. It is the first time in the history of the Hoophall that Dade has finished with the upper hand. Wednesday’s final scores were:

Miami Norland 51, Western 41

North Miami 89, Northeast 73

Westminster Academy 65, Miami Palmetto 64 (OT)

University School 74, South Miami 67

Miami Christian 71, Stranahan 57

I will be doing 5 takeaways on Miami-Dade County, while my counterpart Jake Perper will be doing 5 takeaways on Broward:

Palmetto-Westminster game of the day

Miami Palmetto and Westminster Academy, out of Fort Lauderdale, played an overtime classic that was the game of the day.

Palmetto led most of the way, grabbing a 38-24 lead by halftime, before Westminster came racing back to tie it 58-all at the end of regulation. The Lions would win in OT on 2020 guard Stephan Dibongue‘s leaner in the lane with 6 seconds remaining. Palmetto had one final chance — and got a great look — but senior Alex Rodriguez‘s layup would catch the rim and bound out.

Palmetto is one of the — if not the — top programs in Dade this season. Expect the Panthers to make some noise in 9A.

“Right now we’re just trying to get better,” third-year Palmetto head coach Marcos Molina said. “We had a couple injuries early, had some guys miss a ton of practice, and our football kids [2020 Kentron Poitier and 2021 Jason Marshall] are getting back in the groove. As a team, I think we’ve only had since the start of the season five practices together. Most nights our best player is [6-6 senior] Josmel Martinez. He was out with an injury. I think he’s only had three practices.

“I thought we should have played with a little more composure tonight. We had a 14-point lead and didn’t exactly execute the way we wanted to. They’re a good team. We’re a good team. I thought it was a great game and a great venue.”

Palmetto is in the midst of playing three games in three nights. The Panthers beat Miami Killian by double-digits in a district game Tuesday, had Westminster Academy Wednesday and is at Homestead Thursday.

Miami Christian 3-0 in Hoophall

Two-time defending Class 2A champion Miami Christian is now 3-0 in the history of the Hoophall Invite. 

Senior guards Algenis Quintana and Diego Rivera both were in double-digits to lead the way vs. Fort Lauderdale Stranahan. Quintana hit seven field goals on the way to 17 points.

The duo also did a sensational job swarming to Stranahan senior guard Brian Dugazon, who had gone off for 35 points against University School. The Victors held Dugazon scoreless in the first half and he finished with just 6 points.

“This is the first game of the season,” the 6-1 Quintana said. “Everybody was nervous but we played it. We played out the game and came out with a win.”

“We have a new squad, so everything we do in favor of winning and effort I love that,” added Miami Christian coach Juan Cardona. “Now we’re not even close to where I want them to be but they’re trying. We’re working very hard. I am very proud of them and we’ve got to keep working. We can’t let the two wins get to our head because we have a very tough schedule.”

Cardona says his club most focus on rebounding.

Hart, Charles carry Pioneers

Reynald Benoit‘s North Miami squad tied the Hoophall Miami record for most points in a single game in an 89-73 W over Oakland Park Northeast. The 89 points ties the record previously held by University School.

2020 point guard Carlos Hart led the Pioneers with 24 points. Senior shooting guard Richard Charles (6-5) added 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Charles hit three 3-pointers.

“We knew that they were going to send a trap, so we just had some guy flash middle and then to break the press,” Charles said of the game plan.

“I think we’re going to go kind of far this year because we have chemistry. We’ve been together since the fifth grade.” 

While recruiting has yet to ramp up for Carlos Hart, younger brother of Victor Hart, Charles said, “I have Livingstone [College], Western Nebraska, Barry, FIU looking at me.” He said he plans to visit Western Nebraska in a week or so.

Wilson, Smith big in 2nd half

Miami Norland trailed Western High 41-37 heading into the final period. But the Vikings held high-scoring 2019 Damari Monsanto and Co. scoreless the final eight minutes to pull away.

“They didn’t score in the fourth quarter. So, that’s what we do defend,” veteran Norland coach Lawton Williams said. “We couldn’t get anything going offensively. … Just wore them down I think.”

Senior Brandon Spaulding (6-4) led the Vikings with 15 points. Juniors Jahvon Smith (6-3) and Kendrick Wilson (6-5) added 11 points apiece. Ten of Wilson’s 11 came in the pivotal second half.

“He picked it up,” Williams said of Wilson. “He had been suspended indefinitely. He came back. It took him a while to get going. He played the way I wanted him to in the second half.”

Of Smith, a transfer from Hallandale in Broward, Williams said: “He’s helping a lot. I moved him to the point. There’s going to be some growing pains. But he is a good player, so I’ll live with it. Nice size, nice feel.”

Segura hits six 3s in loss

2020 Iann Segura was on fire against University School. The 6-4 Segura canned four 3s in the first half to help South Miami to a 40-28 halftime advantage.

Segura would drill two more to finish with 18 points. Barry University guard signee Toru Dean led the Cobras with 19 points, but South Miami could not hold off the defending Class 5A state champs.

“I think we did a great job the first half,” South Miami coach Robert Doctor said. “Second half they controlled the tempo of the game. We’ve got to do a better job of boxing out. I know they’re huge but … At the end, they made shots, they controlled the paint and they got the W.”

South Miami played without 6-10 junior center Brandon Sanders, who is close to coming back from injury. “He’s real athletic, rebounds, blocks shots, controls the paint,” Doctor said.

If you have high school basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer via e-mail at or via text at 954-661-9671.