The Norland girls’ basketball team didn’t like how it felt about itself when it walked off the court after its GMAC final loss two weeks ago at Miami High.
So much so that seniors Brittany Dinkins, Nia Roberts and Danneal Ford showed up the next morning — on a Saturday — at the team’s gym ready to find a way to get the squad back on track.
“We’ve had a whole different mind-set since we lost that game,” Dinkins said. “We didn’t have a championship mentality the way we were approaching games earlier this season. Our instinct now is get people down and don’t let up.”
Norland did exactly that Thursday night, routing visiting Fort Lauderdale 54-14 in a Region 4-6A quarterfinal.
The Vikings (25-3) will host Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy (16-9) in a regional semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m. as they hope to move a step closer to a potential sixth trip to state in eight years.
With a defensive toughness that allowed them to score the game’s first 17 points, Norland forced a running clock early in the third quarter after their lead exceeded 35 points.
Brittany Dinkins led with 17 points and four steals, while Nia Roberts had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Dinkins has excelled this season, averaging a team-best 14.5 points per game after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
“We’re dreaming of a state title, and as seniors we know at this point there are no more do-over’s,” Dinkins said. “I fought back from that injury, and it’s felt great to be back and now I know nothing is impossible.”
Tyana Williams came off the bench to score 10 points and collect seven rebounds. Jamena Harvey also played well on the defensive end, forcing turnovers on Norland’s full-court pressure.
“I’m not one of those coaches that thinks you need a loss sometimes since we went 32-0 one season,” Norland coach Carla Harris-Curry said. “But I think you try to find the positives in any loss you can learn from.
“We had our struggles, but Brittany has come back strong, Nia is showing what a beast she can be on the court, Ford is getting everyone involved at the point and Jamena is really contributing on the defensive end. It’s been a blessing to see how this team has responded.”
FTL (15-11): Harris 2, Dejesus 2, Francois 8, DeGraff 2. NOR (25-3): Dinkins 17, Hilbert 4, Jean-Baptiste 7, N. Roberts 14, Williams 10, McCoy 2. Half: N 37-7. Three-pointers: Dinkins, Francois. Rebounds: N. Roberts, Williams 7. Assists: Ford 3. Steals: Dinkins 4.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Monsignor Pace 43, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons 28: It didn’t matter that the Monsignor Pace girls’ basketball team walked into Thursday night’s Class 4A regional quarterfinal contest with a 12-13 record. Hosting Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, the Spartans, led by Maikala McLoud’s 17 points, had no problem disposing of the Chiefs as they cruised to the 15-point victory.
Pace, which avenged a 52-49 loss to Gibbons in this same round a year ago, will host Coral Springs Charter in a regional semifinal on Tuesday night.
CG (14-10): Williams 11, Cohen 8, Jones 5, Ozaltin 4. MP (13-13): McCloud 17, Floyd 13, Nairn 7, Wilson 3, Harrington 3. Halftime: MP 24-17. Three-pointers: McCloud 2, Wilson. Rebounds: Nairn 15. Assists: Harrington 8. Steals: McCloud 4