Slow Start On Offense
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.
Scenes as the #Raiders secure a spot in the Regional Final:#SantaFe
D. Jenkins- 18pts (4/9 from 3)
E. Ross- 12pts, 11reb@RowdyEHSRams
Q.Brodus- 12pts, 7reb@ESPNGainesville @SFHS_Raiders @RAWE_RECRUITS @ThePrepZone @FHSAA pic.twitter.com/86vi5qjUer
— Chris Will (@Chris_Willl) February 24, 2021
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.