Eastside Boys Basketball Falls Just Short of Regional Final After Loss to Santa Fe

Highly-Anticipated Rematch

Six minutes. That’s how long it took for tickets to sell out for the regional semifinal between the Eastside Rams (20-2) and Santa Fe Raiders (17-5) in boy’s high school basketball.
These two teams have met twice this season, once in the regular season and again for a district championship. Santa Fe won both.
Santa Fe extended the run to 3-0 against Eastside this season on Tuesday night. In a back and forth battle, the Raiders came out on top by a score of 41-31.
Santa Fe was led in scoring by sophomore Dontrell Jenkins (18 points) and senior Ernest Ross (12 points).

Slow Start On Offense

Eastside junior Julius Owens rises up to win the tip-off against Santa Fe’s Ernest Ross

The intensity from both teams on the defensive end was present from the beginning.

Ross kicked the scoring off for the Raiders with a three-pointer from the top of the arc and followed it up with a huge, one-handed dunk to have the Raiders go up 5-0 four minutes into the contest.

The score didn’t change for the remainder of the first quarter.

With four minutes and 25 seconds left in the second quarter, Rams guard Omar Brown got Eastside on the board after drawing a foul and making both free throws.

Brown continued the scoring for Eastside, knocking down their first field goal on the day with three minutes left in the half.

As the half came to a close, Santa Fe sophomore Jamiel Watson got the ball at the top of the arc. With the clock approaching zero, Watson dribbled to his right, crossed back left, and while losing his footing, managed to get a shot up and in as time expired. The shot had the sold-out crowd in a frenzy and put the Raiders up 14-7 at the half.

An Offensive Explosion

Eastside senior Qua Brodus came out of halftime on fire for the Rams. Brodus single-handedly scored 10 straight points for the Rams in just a minute and a half.

Eastside sophomore Ben Davis extended the Rams lead to 20-14 after hitting a three-point shot, forcing a Santa Fe timeout halfway into the third quarter.

Santa Fe quickly responded with a run of their own.

Raiders guard Dontrell Jenkins, who scored all 18 of his points in the second half, came out of the timeout with a quick floater and a series of three-pointers, leading the Raiders on a 13-2 run to close the quarter and bringing Santa Fe to a 27-22 lead.

After the two teams exchanged three-pointers to open the fourth quarter, Ernest Ross effectively brought the game to a close after a put-back dunk to put the Raiders up by 10.

The Santa Fe Raiders never looked back as they went on to finish the game, winning 41-31.


When asked after the game how the win felt, Santa Fe head coach Elliot Harris simply said, “It feels great.”

Harris said playing a tough schedule also helped his team along the way.

“We play some tough teams and we do that so that when we get in this arena right here we can win those tough games,” he said.

The Santa Fe Raiders kept the Eastside Rams scoreless in the first quarter, and when the Rams offense exploded, the Raiders were able to keep up, outscoring the Rams 27-24 in the second half.

Harris said, “Basketball is a game of runs. We talked to our kids all week long, those runs are going to happen. We’re going to make a run, they’re going to make a run, but we want to make the last run and we were able to do that.”

Santa Fe plays Lake Highland Prep (13-7) on Friday (2/26) for a regional championship and a spot in the Final Four.

About Christopher Will

Chris Will is a second-year journalism student with a focus in sports and media. Originally from the Fort Lauderdale area, Will is now the beat reporter for Florida Gymnastics and covers all things sports in Gainesville.

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