In 1999, during the boys’ basketball regional quarterfinal between Columbus and host Barbara Goleman, 3,000 fans packed the home gymnasium.
Down 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, the district champion Gators rallied to win in overtime. That squad would finish one game shy of reaching the state tournament, losing to the eventual champion, Deerfield Beach.
“Barbara Goleman will probably never see a crowd like that again,” Art Cabrera said of the quarterfinal. “I’ve been in different places with people who were at that game, and everybody still talks about that game. It was front of a packed house and unbelievable.”
Cabrera, the program’s only coach since its birth in 1995, recently announced his resignation. He will remain at the school as an American history teacher. Last year, Cabrera married. He hopes to watch his 15-year-old play baseball.
In 17 seasons at Goleman, Cabrera finished with an all-time record of 221-278. Three of his players were named to the All-State team. Overall, he logged 26 years of coaching and 43 in the game, counting his playing days.
Before his time at Goleman, Cabrera spent 10 years as an assistant at Miami High, winning five state titles with three future Division I coaches: Shakey Rodriguez (FIU), Anthony Grant (Alabama) and Frank Martin (South Carolina).
When Rodriguez decided to move on to the coaching gig at FIU, Martin and Cabrera interviewed for the job. Martin got it.
“My dream was to be a head coach, so I took the opportunity to go to Goleman and start a brand-new program from scratch,” Cabrera said. “It was fun. When we started there was a lot of enthusiasm — picking out the uniforms, the new gym. It was always my dream to be a basketball coach since I was in the fourth grade. I accomplished that dream.”
Eric Vancott, who worked eight seasons as an assistant under Cabrera, takes over as the program’s new coach.
“He was a great coach and did a great job here for 17 years,” Goleman athletic director Jay Flinchum said. “He lasted longer than any other coach at Goleman. He was a great motivator, great leader and brought out the best of the players.”
• Miami High d. MAST 25-9, 25-7, 25-16: Kristen Valdes 27 assists, 6 aces. Kassandra Green 11 kills, 2 blocks, 3 aces. Francine Saintcyr 9 kills, 3 blocks. MIA 1-0.
• Varela d. Goleman 25-12, 25-9, 25-9: Valeria Ibarra 8 assists, 7 aces, 3 kills. Valeria Matallana 6 aces, 4 kills. Claudia Campero 10 aces, 3 kills. VAR 1-0.
• Palmer Trinity d. Miami Country Day 25-14, 25-13, 25-12: Top performers: Barbara Lopez 9 kills, 4 blocks, 23 assists. Danielle Littke 7 kills, 3 blocks, 20 assists. Ellie Nosich 7 kills, 2 aces. PT 1-0.
• TERRA Environmental d. Jackson 25-7, 25-10, 25-8: Brooke McDermott 7 kills, 5 aces. Katelyn Barrow 9 aces, 17 assist. Grace Cope 5 kills.
• Palmetto 165, Killian 201 (at Palmetto GC par 36): Davis Castano (PAL) 40, Matt Martinez (PAL) 40, Omar Mujahid (KIL) 46.
• Ransom Everglades 162, Gulliver 174 (at La Gorce CC): Carolina Garrett (RAN) 36, Alix Hamilton (RAN) 39, Kelly Parker (GUL) 39. RAN 1-0.
• TERRA Environmental 7, Sunset 0: High game: Jeremy Burstein (TER) 235. High series: Burstein 568. TER 1-0.