Rim protector on defense with a bread-and-butter offensive game to match, Douglas 6-2 center Sarah Cooper was more than a handful for Cardinal Gibbons on Thursday.
Cooper was the glaring difference against the Chiefs in the BCAA Big 8 girls’ basketball quarterfinals at South Plantation, finishing with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks to power Douglas past Cardinal Gibbons 68-40.
Cooper helped turn a 20-14 lead after the first quarter into a commanding 36-20 halftime cushion with 15 points and seven rebounds going into intermission.
Sparking the pivotal 15-6 second-quarter run, Cooper converted a putback with 2:43 left to push the margin to 35-20. Defensively, what shots Cooper wasn’t blocking she was altering by her presence alone.
“Sarah Cooper had an excellent game,” Douglas coach Larry Moore said. “Once she gets going she is very tough to defend. She can bring the ball up the court and even hit threes. Between Sarah, Ashley Arinus and Deja Enos, we have a three-headed monster.”
Moore will get no argument from the Chiefs, which could only watch as Arinus, a 5-11 forward, added 16 points, and Enos showed her all-around game with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Katie Mae Lanzon led the Chiefs with 11 points. Shakirah Jones added nine points.
The Eagles’ victory sets up a semifinal rematch Friday against defending Big 8 champion Nova. The Titans put on a defensive clinic in the second quarter against Miramar, holding the Patriots to one point to fuel a 45-29 victory. Nova guard Bernadette Devaney led the Titans (16-5) with 21 points. Kiani Lurry added 11 points.
Moore knows that handling the Titans’ vaunted press will be a priority if the Eagles are going to avoid a repeat of last season, when Nova took Douglas out of the game early.
“Nova has one of the most athletic and experienced teams around,” Moore said. “We are going to have to limit our turnovers and make shots. Last year, they beat us by about 40 points. It was a humbling experience. Hopefully, we will have a better showing.”
Meanwhile, two-time defending Class 5A state champion Dillard, itching for a finals rematch with Nova, cruised into the semifinals with a 68-34 victory over Flanagan. Briana Green led the Panthers (21-2) with 17 points.
CG (13-7): Ozaltin 2, D. Williams 8, Jones 9, Lanzon 11, Pollock 2, Cohen 8. DOU (17-4): Cooper 23, Mogent 7, Enos 14, Arius 16, Feig 4, T. Williams 2, Rampersad 2. Half: Dough 36-20. Three-pointers: Jones 1, Arnus 1. Rebounds: Enos 12, Cooper 10. Assists: Enos 4. Steals: Mogent 2.
• District 13-5A final — Cypress Bay 1, West Broward 0: All night long, a frustrated Cypress Bay boys’ soccer team had to bide its time and patiently wait for a chance.
Hosting West Broward in the District 13-5A championship game at Cypress Bay, Lightning players controlled the game all night long.
But with West Broward dropping nine and 10 players back on defense, they rarely got any quality shots at the net.
That all changed in the second minute of the first overtime when senior Humberto Diaz found a small sliver in the left side, darted through and right-footed a shot from the left side into the top-right corner of the net from 15 yards out to give the two-time defending state champions the victory and district title.
Cypress Bay (14-2-4), which suffered major losses from last year’s national championship team when a rules change forced top players to choose between high school and year-round club ball, will host Miami High on Wednesday in a regional quarterfinal. West Broward (11-7-3) will travel to Miami Beach. Beach knocked off Miami High 2-1 in overtime in the District 14 final Thursday.
“It was like trying to penetrate the Berlin Wall all night,” said Diaz of West Broward’s defensive strategy. “We were frustrated, but finally I got a nice hard ball pass from David [Reyes] and saw a small opening and shot through. I knew I had very little time, so I just right-footed it and aimed for the top-right corner and got it. It feels great to get this because all year we’ve been hearing that we weren’t going to be able to do anything because of all the players we lost, but we know we still have a good team and intend to keep this thing going.”
“I told them at halftime that we just had to be patient, keep making good passes, stretch the field out and eventually we would get a good chance, and that’s what they did,” Cypress Bay coach John Ramos said.
“This was good because our kids really want to prove something. They’ve read all year how depleted our team is because of the losses and have taken it a little personally, so now they’re motivated.”
MORE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
• Late Wednesday — Grandview Prep 64, Sagemont 48 - GP: Pierre-Louis 33, Petithomme 29, Duncan 2. SAG: Cole 4, Black 13, Rucker 5, Smith 5, Griffin 7, Correa 6, Marshall 8. Rebounds: Cole 8, Correa 8. Assists: Marshall 4. Steals: Black 2, Correa 2
• Late Wednesday — Sagemont 60, Grandview Prep 45 - SAG (16-5): DeLucia 7, Cooper 8, Kirby 8, Koulechov 29, Kande 8. GP (19-1): Canete 15, Schner 7, Walsh 8, Jones 6, Clinton 7. Rebounds: Kande 14. Assists: DeLucia 6. Steals: DeLucia 6
• Late Wednesday — Champagnat 56, Hebrew Academy 39 - CHA: Holanda 18, Labranche 16, Domingues 11, Leadon 8, Mackey 2, Nairm 1. HA (11-6): Abramowitz 20, Schechter 7, Furst 4, Esformes 3, Masin 3, Paul 2. Halftime: CHA 22-18. Three-pointers: Abramowitz 2, Holanda 2, Esformes, Masin, Labranche. Rebounds: Abramowitz 13. Assists: Schechter 4. Steals: Masin 3
• Region 4-2A quarterfinal — American Heritage 3, Cardinal Gibbons 1: Mackenzie Fehl goal. Baylee Kennedy assist
MORE BOYS’ SOCCER
• District 15-4A semifinal — Fort Lauderdale 2, Blanche Ely 0
• District 15-4A semifinal — South Broward 3, Coconut Creek 1
• Late Wednesday — District 14-2A semifinal — University School 2, Mater Academy 1
• Late Wednesday — District 14-1A semifinal — Sagemont 3, Westminster Academy 0
• Pace 60, Mater Lakes 18: Fastest pins: 132: Mel Hilarire in :20. 160: Aaron Fluitt in :27. 152: Ale Smith in :33. 128: Alex Perez in 1:34. 145: Godwin Ferrier in 1:50. 113: Mattias Wettergren in 1:54.
Big 8 semifinals at South Plantation: Nova-Miramar winner vs. Cardinal Gibbons-Douglas winner, 6:30; Dillard-Flanagan winner vs. Coconut Creek-South Broward winner, 8
District 11-5A final at Deerfield Beach: 7
District 15-4A final at South Broward: 7
District 16-3A final at North Miami Stadium: 7
District 13-2A final at American Heritage-Delray: 4
District 14-2A final at Cardinal Gibbons: 7
District 14-1A at Brian Piccolo Park: 2
Big 8 final at South Plantation: 7
Region 3-5A semifinal: Douglas at St. Thomas Aquinas, 6
Region 4-5A semifinal: West Broward at Cypress Bay, 7