Posted On: 01/9/20 10:58 PM

Down in suburban Miami, the Riviera Prep Bulldogs used a strong opening second half to take down the Belen Jesuit Wolverines 56-51. Trailing by three at halftime, the Bulldogs ripped off a 20-11 first eight minutes to take a six-point lead heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, the Wolverines had a chance to tie the game but a corner 3-pointer by 2023 guard Daniel Fernandez clanked off the iron to secure the victory for the Bulldogs. Riviera Prep was without the services of 2020 senior point guard David Perez-Miralles, who sat out with an ankle injury. Perez Miralles is an explosive talent and smart kid academically (3.66 GPA/1280 SAT) who has received multiple looks from collegiate schools, including several Ivy League programs.

Let’s take a look at some standouts:

1) Osmar Garcia-AraujoRiviera Prep: Garcia-Araujo is another name in a long line of talented underclassmen in the South Florida area. The 2023 six-foot-seven forward finished with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. Garcia-Araujo is extremely quick on his feet for his size and showed his elusiveness with a spinning post move in the paint for a bucket. The 230-pound freshman can also bring the ball up in the open floor and step out to hit a 3-pointer when he needs too. Garcia-Araujo is a kid to keep an eye on moving forward for the Bulldogs.

2) Esteban LluberesRiviera Prep: While the Bulldogs took control during a fast paced third quarter, it was the poise of Lluberes in the fourth that iced the game. The 2022 guard finished with 13 points, nine of which came via the free-throw line. Lluberes was especially clutch at the line late in the game with the Jesuit crowd bellowing down on him from the stands. It sure seemed like the sophomore was locked in like a senior when his team needed him most. The five-foot-nine guard is quick in the open floor and posses strong court vision. In the first half, Lluberes drove to the basket only to fire a quick pass to 2020 forward Chris Pelecanos underneath for a bucket. I thought Lluberes got off to a slow start offensively but was aggressive getting to the basket late in the game to draw contact. Defensively, Lluberes is a terrific on-ball defender who appears to be in incredible shape. Along with Garcia Araujo on the front line, the future looks very bright for Riviera Prep with Lluberes in the backcourt. 

3) Daniel Del RiesgoBelen Jesuit: The six foot-five 2021 center is what I would like to call a “space eater”. Del Riesgo is a big body in the paint, comparable to that of an offensive lineman. It comes as know surprise that Del Riesgo used his frame to score a team-high 15 points, much of which was carved out around the rim. Del Riesgo can muscle his way into post-position and set up as a nice target for Wolverine guards to get the ball too. When he gets that far down low he is going to be tough to stop for any defender. 

4) David FernandezBelen Jesuit: The stat line for the 2021 guard was an impressive one with 11 points, ten assists and five rebounds. Beyond the numbers, I thought the five-foot-ten guard showed an impressive handle and quickness getting off Bulldog defenders. His awareness to find open teammates makes him a strong backcourt player for the Wolverines.

5) Lucas BrennerRiviera Prep: When the Bulldogs overtook the Wolverines in the second half, I thought Brenner was one of the catalysts. Riviera Prep only hit four 3-pointers on the night, but two came from Brenner, the first giving the Bulldogs the lead with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter. Brenner finished with eight points but hit timely shots that put his team out in front for good.

For South Florida hoops news or information…please contact Michael Costeines on Instagram @Steins_23 or follow him on twitter @Mungertown_Mike23.