Ray Lewis' speech helps motivate Grandview Prep boys to state victory
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
by Jeff Greer
Ray Lewis just won the Super Bowl in his final NFLgame, but the future Hall of Famer and former Hurricane isn't done giving inspirational speeches.
Tuesday morning, before Grandview Prep's 63-49 Class 2A state semifinal victory over Jacksonville-North Florida Educational, Lewis' mother, Buffy Smith, saw the team gathering in its Lakeland-area hotel.
According to Pride coach Joe Dawson, Smith asked him and his team what they were doing in Lakeland. When they told her, she dialed her son and put him on speaker phone.
"He gave one of the best motivational talks to our team," Dawson said. "I couldn't ask for anything better to get our kids motivated."
That motivation advanced Grandview to its fourth state championship berth since 2008, though the Pride has yet to win a title. Grandview (29-2) will play state power Orlando Christian Prep in the Class 2A final at 8:05 p.m. Wednesday.
To win the title, Grandview will need the same kind of performances it got in the semifinal from guard Ivan Canete and wingmen, Eric Mance and Sean Walsh.
Canete got into a flow early and never looked back, tallying 19 points on 8-of-19 shooting, and added 13 rebounds and five assists against a much bigger North Florida Educational.
"He's a rhythm scorer," NFE coach Mike Dubose said. "He can throw almost anything and it'll go in."
Mance started quickly, hitting two 3-pointers in the opening minutes. His 13 points, paired with Walsh's 11, gave Grandview the extra help it needed.
NFE's 6-foot-8 junior Terrell Miller, a top college prospect, had 21 points and 14 rebounds, but shot just 6-of-19. Deangelo Stephen-Bell, who scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, was the only other Eagle to reach double figures for NFE (24-7).
Grandview's strategy -- sealing the interior and forcing NFE to shoot distant jumpers -- worked to near perfection. NFE, which was the state's top-ranked Class 2A team all season, only shot 30 percent and was 5-of-19 from 3-point range.
"We felt they weren't really a good perimeter-shooting team," Dawson said. "We just packed it in on them."
Now Grandview turns its attention to Orlando Christian Prep, which beat Grandview in the 2008 and 2009 state championship games. That might be motivation enough, though Dawson wouldn't reject another phone call from Lewis.
"We're gonna try to get him on the line (Wednesday)," Dawson joked.