TAMPA – Each quarter in Tuesday night’s Class 5A-Region 3 semifinal between Robinson and Jesuit had an exciting play that got the fans out of their seats. Despite a low scoring affair, the game had plenty of action as the Tigers bested Robinson 45-41 to advance to the region final.
In the first quarter, it was Stevie Darst’s buzzer beating 3-pointer that made the crowd erupt. The triple from the Jesuit junior tied the game at eight after the first eight minutes. It was even more impressive since guard J.J. Henderson all over him defensively.
Then in the second quarter, Robinson senior Francisco Mediavilla recorded his third block of the half with time expiring. The Knights trailed by one, 16-15 at the break.
In the third quarter, another buzzer beater went Jesuit’s way as senior forward Ryan Fleming buried a three from right in front of his team’s bench to give the Tigers a 30-25 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter didn’t feature a thrilling play at the buzzer or in the final ticks of the clock, but junior Will Anderson’s put-back score with 38 seconds turned out to be the game-winner. Soon after, Darst sunk two free throws with under five seconds remaining and Jesuit captured the four-point victory. Mediavilla put his team ahead with a layup prior to Anderson’s only basket of the night, perhaps the biggest one of his career.
Note: Junior guard Tyson Dunn lit up the scoreboard in the third quarter, adding seven of his 10 points on the night.
“When I was in eighth grade I watched Travis [Johnson] and Jack [Fleming],” Will Anderson said when reminiscing about the 2013 state title. “We want to get there. We want to get to that championship. It would be the greatest feeling in the world.”
Up next: Jesuit will now travel to Cape Coral Mariner on Friday night at 7 p.m. to take on a Tritons team that is 25-3 and has two lengthy players in 6-foot-7 Jahmel Myers and 6-8 Amari Haynes. Myers had a team-high 28 points in Tuesday’s 64-55 win over Bradenton Southeast.
The Tigers are looking to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2013, its last state title and third in school history.
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @Jake_Perper.