St. Andrew’s forward Joshua Minott, in his final high school game, nearly willed the Scots to a win over Calvary Christian.
The senior Memphis commit scored more than half of St. Andrew’s points (31 of 58) and notched 11 points in a furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt, but Minott and the reigning state champion Scots came up just short, losing the Class 3A regional semifinals to Calvary Christian, 61-58, on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale.
“All year long, he’s been great and today showed it versus us at a high level,” Calvary Christian coach Cilk McSweeney said. “We made a couple missed defensive assignments on him. But he’s a great player. He’s going to play at a high level next year.”
Led by 12 first-quarter points from Minott, St. Andrew’s got out to an early advantage. But Calvary moved ahead in the second quarter and never relinquished the lead.
The Eagles, who played some of the top-ranked teams in the nation during the regular season, steadily built their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Scots 19-8 in the period.
“We have seven losses, so we know what it’s like to lose,” McSweeney said. “But we also know what it’s like to win. These type of things prepared us for those last seconds. We’ve been in games with the No. 2 team in the country ... and we just didn’t make the right plays at the right time, and we did it tonight.”
Calvary’s lead extended to 13 points early in the fourth quarter before St. Andrew’s started cutting into the deficit. Minott hit a three-point shot with about 19 seconds remaining to get the Scots within three points. But Calvary sophomore Marvel Allen, who led the Eagles with 18 points, knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game, which was too big of a margin to overcome in the waning seconds.
“I think the last minute was kind of like how the last quarter went,” McSweeney said. “We had a nice, comfortable lead, but I think we were just making too many mistakes under the pressure instead of playing our game, which built our lead.”
Allen was one of two scorers who finished in double digits for Calvary; junior forward Taylor Hendricks had 14 points. For St. Andrew’s, senior guard Devin Hines added 16 points.
Calvary Christian will face the winner of the Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic vs. Melbourne Holy Trinity Episcopal game in the regional finals on Friday with a trip to the state Final Four on the line.
“It was a great feeling [to win Tuesday],” Allen said. “But we can’t settle. We’re on to the next game. We’ve got the regional championship next to get to the road to states. So that’s the main focus.”