Prep boys basketball: Seahawks sock it to Buccaneers in 3A regional quarterfinal

Community School's Ryan Celano (1) and Jeff Merton (44) battle for a loose ball against North Palm Beach-Benjamin School in the 3A regional quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The Seahawks beat the Buccaneers 75-60 to advance. Scott Butherus/Staff

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Community School's Ryan Celano (1) and Jeff Merton (44) battle for a loose ball against North Palm Beach-Benjamin School in the 3A regional quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The Seahawks beat the Buccaneers 75-60 to advance. Scott Butherus/Staff

BENJAMIN (60)

Hobbs 6 6-11 30, Shed 2 0-0 5, Rosenthal 5 0-0 10, Kasten 1 0-0 2, Wilson 3 0-2 6, Pavlov 3 1-2 7. Totals 20 7-15 65.

COMMUNITY (75)

Kent 1 1-2 4, Celano 1 8-8 11, Rochette 5 2-2 12, Badger 2 1-2 6, Gendron 7 1-4 19, Baker 1 1-2 3, Merton 5 5-6 16. Totals 22 19-26 75

Benjamin 15 14 18 12 — 60

Community 13 13 25 24 — 75

Three pointers: BS–Hobbs 4, Shed 1; CSN–Kent 1, Celano 1, Badger 1, Gendron 3, Merton 1. Fouled out: CSN–Gendron. Technicals: BS–Hobbs.

As a show of team unity the Community School boys basketball game has sported the knee-high, checkerboard-patterned socks as they take aim at their first regional title since 2008.

Those lucky socks "are worth 18 points," according to Seahawks head coach Greg Donahue.

Good thing as CSN needed every one of those points in its 75-60 win over visiting North Palm Beach-Benjamin School in the 3A regional quarterfinal on Thursday.

"That was a heck of a game. It was a lot closer than the final score," Donahue said. "15 points is not indicative of how close that game was."

Thanks to a dominant performance by junior guard Isaiah Hobbs, who finished with a game-high 30 points, the Buccaneers (17-11) managed to hang tough until the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. It was until around the two minute mark that the Seahawks were able to pull away for good thanks to a Jeff Merton put back and an 8-foot jumper from Johnny Baker gave CSN (26-2) a four-point lead. After Hobbs was whistled for a technical, Merton made both of his free throws to make it 63-58 with 1:30 left on the clock, forcing Benjamin into a fouling the rest of the way out. Seahawks guard Ryan Celano would put the game on ice by hitting all eight of his free throws in the final minutes. Celano finished with 11 points, seven assists and three steals.

"In the fourth quarter we went to a man-to-man defense and that has been our bread and butter all year. We got some big, big stops," Donahue said.

It was a back-and-forth battle the entire game between the two teams. The lead changed hands six time in the third period alone. Seahawks forward Drew Gendron helped carry the team on both sides of the court during that frame, scoring 11 points — including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc — and coming up with a booming block against Benjamin that got the home crowd fired up and helped shift the momentum to CSN's favor. Gendron finished the game with a team-high 19 points.

"They hit a big shot and he responded with a three from about four feet outside the three point line and then he came down into the other corner and hit one," Donahue said. "That's the kind of kid he is. He responds to adversity when he is challenged."

"It wasn't just about me," Gendron said. "The whole team stepped it up. That shift in momentum was huge for us."

Merton finsihed the game with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Community, who will go on the road to face Pahokee in the regional semifinals.

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