After Denis Clemente hit the game-winning shot his teammates ran after him in excitement and fans stormed the court. The layup was his 600th point of the season and the basket capped off an exciting basketball game that came down to the final minutes.
With Calusa (15-5) trailing 73-68 with 1:30 remaining in the game and possession of the basketball senior guard Bryant Olmedo knocked down a three-point shot to close the gap 73-71.
Calusa trailed by three points again with less than 30 seconds left in the game. This time it was Clemente's turn to come up with the big three-point shot as he tied the game at 75-75. Calusa head coach Tim Fowler called a timeout immediately after the basket with 27.7 seconds remaining. Prior to making the shot, Clemente was 1-for-12 from behind the three-point arc.
As Florida Prep (16-8) was working for the final shot of the game they committed a foul away from the ball with 15 seconds remaining. The foul sent Clemente to the free-throw line for two shots because they were in the double-bonus. The crowd at MacArthur South—where Calusa plays their home games--rose to their feet with cheers as their star point guard went to the free-throw line for two shots.
He was just 4-for-8 from the free-throw line as he stepped to the line with a chance to win the game. The first shot rimmed off. The second one did the same leaving the game still tied at 75-75 with Florida Prep in possession of the basketball after a jump ball. A timeout was called with 6.9 seconds remaining in the game.
The ball squirted loose from a Florida Prep player and Clemente scooped it up racing to the basket for his game-winning shot.
"It is so exciting," Clemente said. "I looked up and saw four seconds on the clock and went as fast as I could. I just can't believe we won. This is my last game on this court and it couldn't have been any better."
Clemente finished the game with 34 points on 14-of-29 shooting. He also added four assists, four steals, and two rebounds.
He started off the game with 12 points in the first quarter, but his teammates were having trouble with the tempo of the game as they were down 27-10. They trailed 28-16 after the first quarter.
"I thought we came out a bit rusty again," Fowler said. "We tend to do that when we have a long layoff and we had not played since last Wednesday."
Calusa rebounded from the slow start with a 13-1 run at the end of the first quarter and into the start of the second quarter causing Florida Prep to call a timeout. Calusa would go on to outscore Florida Prep in the quarter, 23-15 to cut the lead to 43-39 at halftime. Clemente had 18 points at halftime on 9-of-19 shooting.
At halftime, Clemente had his number 15 jersey retired by Calusa Prep. It was something Clemente wanted to have done prior to the season and with another solid season, he got his wish. He has been extremely gracious for the opportunity to play for the Colts since coming to the United States from Puerto Rico in the summer of 2003. Last year he led the state of Florida averaging 33.5 points per game.
Head coach and athletic director Tim Fowler spoke to the crowd as Denis was presented with his number 15 jersey in a frame with his teammates standing at center court.
"It was great to have the ceremony at halftime," Clemente said. "I was real happy my mom was able to be here. This was very exciting for me."
In the third quarter, Clemente picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench for nearly six minutes and did not return until 5:58 remaining in the game trailing 57-56.
Clemente scored 14 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-5 shooting including 2-of-3 from behind the three-point line. He was 4-of-6 from the free-throw line in the quarter.
Miami head coach Frank Haith was in attendance to watch Clemente and got a nice ovation from the fans at halftime when he was introduced.
"I knew he was going to be there," Clemente said. "I just wanted to play well in front of him to show what I could do."
Clemente is now averaging 31.6 points per game and scored a season-high 50 points on January 20 against Palmer Trinity.
In the first quarter…
His first basket of the game came when he faked a three-point shot drawing the defender out to guard him. He went around the defender and drove hard towards the lane putting up a nice left handed hook shot as the defenders tried to block his shot.
In the second quarter…
He used his dribble effectively tonight and in the second quarter he showed off his quickness with the dribble. He dribbled the ball at the top of the key before using a crossover to get the ball in his left hand only to spin back to his right off of a defender scoring a tough shot.
In the fourth quarter…
His three-point shot was 1:30 left in the game to tie the game couldn't have been a bigger shot. He was struggling with his outside shot all game, but hit the shot when his team needed it the most.
In the fourth quarter…
Without a doubt this play will go down as Clemente's best play in his two years as a member of the Calusa Prep Colts. His steal with less than five seconds remaining and racing down the court past defenders for the game-winning shot was magnificent and it couldn't have been scripted any better.
CLEMENTE QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Q PTS FG 3-PT FT 1st: 12 6-11 0-3 0-3 2nd 6 3-8 0-3 0-1 3rd 2 1-5 0-4 0-0 4th 14 4-5 2-3 4-6 Final 34 14-29 2-13 4-10BOXSCORE
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final Calusa Prep 16 23 11 27 77 Florida Prep 28 15 13 19 75Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com.