For the third time this season, Cypress Bay used a harassing man-to-man defense, plus Nick Wingard’s best game of the season, to defeat handily Miramar 64-46 to take the District 12-8A crown Wednesday at Flanagan.
The Lightning, which won its third consecutive district title, will stay home for the first round of the regionals on Thursday.
“I’m glad we’re playing at home for regionals,” said Wingard, Cypress Bay’s 6-2 swingman who led his team with 15 points and eight rebounds, both season highs.
“As Coach [Jason Looky] said, our strength is the half-court man-to-man defense,” Wingard said, “the team does a good job of helping each other out, and the other team can’t get their passing together, and it affects them psychologically when they can’t find open players.”
Ross Udine and Alex Jurko also scored in double-figures for the Lightning with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Peterson Morency led the Patriots (15-7) with 14 points.
Cypress Bay had a 10-0 run midway in the second quarter en route to a 24-19 halftime lead. Wingard led the Lightning with 11 first-half points as the team’s man-to-man defense forced 11 Miramar turnovers in the first half. The Patriots’ only taste of the lead came early in second when Trevor Lee hit a short baseline jumper for a short-lived 12-11 lead.
That’s when the Lightning scored 10 unanswered points during a three-minute span — eight of those points coming on free throws — for Cypress Bay’s biggest lead of the first half at 21-12 following Wingard’s three-point play.
The Lightning’s second strike came late in the third quarter, going on a 12-3 run in the final 2:35 of the third to take a commanding 46-29 cushion going into the final quarter. Cypress Bay coasted in the final quarter, increasing its lead to 21 (62-21) on a Wingard inside basket off an Udina pass.
MIR: Morency 14, Cajuste 8, Lewis 8, Forbes 5, Lee 2. CB: Wingard 15, Udine 13, Jurko 11, Medina 4, Barnes 4, Pollack 4, Baach 4. Halftime: CB 24-19. Rebounds: Wingard 8. Assists: Udina 4. Steals: Baach 3, Wingard 3.
• In addition to its 17 football signees, St. Thomas Aquinas had several athletes sign in other sports.
For baseball, Alec Byrd signed with Florida State and Evan Morales signed with Denison University. Basketball standout Steven Haney signed with UCF. Standout wrestler Alex Uhre signed with Virginia.
Four girls’ soccer players signed — Alexa Bute (Union College), Jessica Hoyt (TCU), Alexander Marsh (Dartmouth), Sara Perlman (American University).
Softball standout Samantha Sharkey signed with Canisius College. Swimmer Brianna Giordanella signed with Lenoir-Rhyne. Track star Maurice Dix signed with North Carolina.
Volleyball standouts Brooke Lyons (Appalachian State) and Bridget Villano (Tennessee) also signed.
Water polo star Richard Moore signed with Bucknell.
Three golfers signed. Dane Cianelli signed with St. Thomas College, Taylor Moody signed with South Florida and Heather Netti signed with FAU.
Six lacrosse players signed — Robert Dorn (Providence), Luke Gonzalez (Saint Leo), Griffin Melzer (Salisbury University), Fernando Milanes (Jacksonville), Rachelle Serafini (Iona), Christina Wittmeier (Stetson).
• University School had several signees on Wednesday including boys’ soccer players Justin Santos (Army), Gaston Becherano (Tufts), and Sebastian Diaz (Miami) for baseball.