The Heat clinched a spot in the RCBL finals against the defending champion Suns with an emphatic 115-87 rout of the Lakers in the third and decisive game of the league semifinals played Monday night at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown.
The second-seeded Heat, back-to-back champs in 2010-2011, led from the outset and quickly put the game away, seizing control with a 13-2 first quarter run to lead 23-10 with four minutes left in the period. The Heat dissected the listless Lakers every which way. Sizzling from the perimeter all night, they drained 15 treys.
Nick Viera led the victors with 37 points, including six three-pointers. Will Fielding added 21 points, Matt Gebo had 18 and Lucas Brewer 13. Damon Mello led the third-seeded Lakers with 21 points, followed by Heath Estrella (17), Sterling Bishop (16), James Rolston (11) and Pat Rolston (10).
The previous Monday, the Lakers were a different team in tying the series at 1-1 with a 98-84 win. Bishop and Estrella, with 24 and 21 points respectively on the night, keyed the decisive 26-14 Lakers third quarter. John Healy scored 17 points, Damon Mello 14, and Dave Bettencourt 10. Nick Viera again paced the Heat with 26 points, while Sandy Fisher (16), Lucas Brewer (15), and Tim Scott (10) also reached double figures.
Also on March 3, the fourth-seeded Suns completed a two-game semifinal sweep of the top-seeded Bulls with a resounding 119-81 win. The defending champs struggled during the regular season but are peaking at the right time. The Suns scorched a Bulls team missing leading scorer Brant Silvia, who was out due to an injury sustained in a game one collision with the Suns’ Jade Cash.
The Suns posted a 65-42 halftime lead and just kept going. All 11 players in uniform got on the scoresheet for the Suns. Six scored in double digits: Jade Cash (20 points), Asil Cash (17), Matt Brown (16), Paul Linderson (12), Dale Rogers (11) and Asa Ray (11). Anthony Johnson scored 29 points to lead the Bulls. Jared Silvia added 27 more.
The championship series begins Monday night at 6:15 pm at the Boys and Girls Club. Game two is set for March 24 and game three, if necessary will be March 31.