MIAMI — The goal is the same for the St. Thomas Aquinas and Dillard boys basketball teams.
Play good enough when it counts and compete for a state championship.

Saturday at the Martin Luther King Basketball Classic at Miami Central High, both teams got a better idea how close they really are.

St. Thomas looked every bit of being postseason ready with a convincing 71-54 victory over Miami Columbus. American Heritage defeated Sagemont 61-56 in a late game on Saturday.

Dillard wasn’t as fortunate, losing to Hialeah Gardens 61-52.

“Our defense worn them down,” St. Thomas coach Steve Strand said. “We’re getting better. We have a chance.”

Leading 27-22 at the half, Aquinas began to pull away in the third quarter aided by John Hunter scoring eight of his 14 points in the quarter. Steve Haney led the Raiders (13-3) with 15 points.

Kobe Eubanks led Heritage (12-6) with 20 as the Patriots raillied from a first half deficit. The Patriots outscored Sagemont 21-12 in the finbal quarter

Drake LaMont added 13 points and Jason Massey 12 points for Heritage. Sagmont 15-5) was led by Jordan Cooper with 20 points.

Dillard (12-7) hung tough with Hialeah Gardens but wne through a offensive dry spell failing to overcome a close deficit. The Panthers were led by Tradon Smith’s 17 points.

“We missed a lot of layups,” Dillard coach Darryl Burrows said. “I thought our defense was okay, but we still didn’t do a good job of rebounding.:

The Grandview Prep and Jupiter boys basketball teams welcomed the opportunity to play in the MLK Classic.

Jupiter coach John Anderson considered it an excellent chance to prove if his team would be playoff ready when district play begins in three weeks. He would be pleased with his teams outcome against Coral Reef at Miami Central High on Saturday.

Matt Zacaro scored 17 points and Roderick Blue 12 points to lead the Warriors to a 68-45 victory. Grandview followed their lead with a 74-64 victory over Miami Jackson.

“This was probably the best we have played overall in a while,” Anderson said. “My big guys showed up today. The rebounded, they scored, they finished inside and did the little things we talked about.”