Young talent shines at ‘Classic’

A herd of high school basketball talent was running wild in the Civic Center Saturday night after being unleashed by Breakdown Magazine in its fifth annual tripleheader.

The Breakdown Classic was held in the Civic Center for the first time, something that Breakdown Magazine’s Brionne Gillion wants people in Tallahassee to get used to.

Gillion said that after marveling at the success of this year’s classic.

“When you get 6,000 people in the Civic Center to watch three high school basketball games I think that is a success in its own right,” Gillion said.

Jacksonville’s Raines vs. Rickards, 6 p.m.

Tallahassee’s own Class 4A No. 4 Rickards high school calmly defeated Class 5A No. 9 Jacksonville Raines 46-59 in a game that was grabbed early with tenacious defense.

Rickards went on a 10-0 late in the first quarter, which begun on two buckets by junior Darion Davis, who finished with a game high 19 points. Davis added two more scores during a 7-0 second quarter run as Rickards was obliterating the Raines’ 2-3 zone.

These two runs were mostly due to the complete shutdown of Raines’ sophomore sensation Derwin Kitchens, who put up a donut in a 29-14 first half in favor of Rickards.

“We knew that he was one of the top sophomores in the state,” said Rickards head coach Andy Colville. “You can’t just let him catch the ball and shoot, so we tried to wear him out and make sure he didn’t catch the ball very easily.”

Rickards came out in the second half and gingerly extended their lead to as much 21 points. However, Raines was able to mount a slight comeback led by 11 points from Kitchens and 12 points by junior Daniel Grant, but Rickards was able to hold strong and take away this huge win.

“I’ve got a very young squad, one of the youngest probably in the state, and the one thing that appreciate is how hard they played tonight,” Colville said.

Cleveland (TX) Heritage Christian Academy vs. Florida High School, 7:30 p.m.

It’s a game of two halves and possible extra periods.

Unfortunately for Class 2A No. 3 Florida High they won the first half, turned around lost the second half and couldn’t regroup in the two extra periods, losing 94-93.

Florida High took advantage of the classic’s headliner junior guard Von Wafer absence in the first quarter and then matched his offensive second quarter onslaught of 10 points with great shooting of their own, winning the first half 46-30.

Florida High held that important double-digit lead until Heritage Christian ended the third quarter with an impressive 11-1 run. The lead was now cut to four, 61-57.

Heritage Christian would eventually take that lead, 63-62, with 6:32 remaining in the fourth on a lay-up by senior TJ Warren.

The two teams then traded baskets and the lead for the rest of the quarter before Florida High’s senior Frank Young (who finished with a team high points) drained a high-arching three pointer which sent the game into overtime.

In the first overtime Heritage Christian senior Elijah Miller missed two crucial free throws with the scored tied at 89 and merely seconds remaining, so both team’s marched into a second overtime.

Early in this second overtime, Wafer was forced to leave with a cramp in his left calf, but his team didn’t need him as they eventually edged out Florida High.

Wafer, who played on a court he will get used to as he has signed with Florida State next season, finished with a game high 38 points.

“When I (stepped on the court) I was kind of dreaming,” Wafer said. “Then I got out of it by taking a couple of shots and it was on from there.”

Jacksonville Ribault vs. Miami Northwestern

Class 4A No. 2 Jacksonville Ribault head coach Bernard Wilkes said after the game that he has been preaching defense to his teams for 27 years.

This year’s team has totally taken heed to his advice as they totally mesmerized Miami Northwestern’s offense in the second half on route to a convincing 71-46 victory.

After the first half ended a close game, 28-25, Ribault held Miami Northwestern to a mere seven points in the third quarter totally dismantling their inside game that features five guys over 6-foot-6 inches tall. Ribault did that with five short, lightening quick players that executed a suffocating 1-2-2 half court trap.

“Teams look at us a say ‘look at those little short guys there are not going to be able to stand us on the boards,’ but we do a fantastic job,” Wilkes said.