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Fort White rallies in 2nd half, defeats BHS 60-56

Alex Mejias (left) dribbles past Fort White’s Melvin Sanders.

Alex Mejias (left) dribbles past Fort White’s Melvin Sanders.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Staff Writer

Bradford High School led by as many as 11 points and had a seven-point lead at the half, but couldn’t hang on to extend its season, losing 60-56 to top seed Fort White in the semifinals of the District 5-4A boys’ basketball tournament on Feb. 7 in Starke.

“Too many quick shots,” Bradford head coach Adrian Chandler said of the second half. “We had possession control of the ball, but then it was one pass and one shot.”

The fourth-seeded Tornadoes (8-16) lost their lead in the third quarter, but Caleb Jones got it back with a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter. Bradford’s Kenny Dinkins later made two free throws to tie the score at 49-all, but Fort White took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Qurin Porter.

Dinkins was intentionally fouled after a steal with 35 seconds left. He made both free throws to pull the Tornadoes to within three, but Bradford could not get a good look at the basket to possibly tie the game.

Jones scored 21 points for the second straight game to lead Bradford, while Keaaris Ardley and Alex Mejias each scored 13 points. Dinkins added seven, while Shawn Aaron had two.

Fort White (24-2) advances to the Feb. 8 championship game against third seed Santa Fe, which defeated second seed P.K. Yonge 55-45.

Elijah Higginbotham attempts a 3-point shot for the Tornadoes.

Elijah Higginbotham attempts a 3-point shot for the Tornadoes.


Kenny Dinkins challenges two Fort White players.

Kenny Dinkins challenges two Fort White players.

Bradford’s Keaaris Ardley goes up for a basket.

Bradford’s Keaaris Ardley goes up for a basket.

Keaaris Ardley soars to the basket for Bradford.

Keaaris Ardley soars to the basket for Bradford.

Tyler Wainwright puts up a shot for Bradford.

Tyler Wainwright puts up a shot for Bradford.

Bradford’s Tyler Wainwright (left) battles for a loose ball.

Bradford’s Tyler Wainwright (left) battles for a loose ball.

Alex Mejias (left) dribbles past Fort White’s Melvin Sanders.

Alex Mejias (left) dribbles past Fort White’s Melvin Sanders.

Bradford’s Alex Mejias gets airborne for a transition basket.

Bradford’s Alex Mejias gets airborne for a transition basket.

Alex Mejias (right) battles a Fort White player for the ball.

Alex Mejias (right) battles a Fort White player for the ball.

Bradford’s Caleb Jones prepares to pull up for a jumper.

Bradford’s Caleb Jones prepares to pull up for a jumper.

Caleb Jones drives the baseline for Bradford.

Caleb Jones drives the baseline for Bradford.

Bradford’s Caleb Jones shoots from beyond the arc.

Bradford’s Caleb Jones shoots from beyond the arc.

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