Miami High’s girls’ basketball team has won a lot of games this season on the dominant play of sophomore Beatrice Mompremier.
But on Tuesday night a short-handed yet resilient Dr. Krop squad found ways to limit the Stingarees star center and put them on the brink of elimination.
Miami High, however, collectively found a way to survive.
Senior guard Amanda Mendoza hit a clutch three-pointer with 2:45 remaining to put the Stingarees ahead and help them defeat the visiting Lightning 39-34 in a Region 4-8A semifinal.
Miami High (23-5) advanced to its first regional final since 2005 — the year it won its lone state championship — and will play Lourdes at 7 p.m. Saturday at Belen Jesuit.
“We got a little frustrated because we couldn’t score and they kept packing in their defense on Beatrice,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “They had a great game plan” They doubled the ball and we made a lot of mental errors.”
Krop (21-5) played without star wing N’Kiru Anyagaligbo, who coach Ray Thompson said was suspended for disciplinary reasons.
The Lightning still found a way to limit Mompremier to only eight points, including two in the first half. Anyagaligbo’s sister, Ogechi, matched up with Mompremier inside but got help from Krop’s guards who cut off passing lanes into the post.
Krop forced Miami High into 29 turnovers for the game and rallied from a 9-1 deficit to start the game to take a 26-14 lead early in the third quarter.
The Stingarees responded with a 12-0 run to end the third quarter with some stellar defense of their own. Mendoza finished with a game-high 10 points and four steals — tied with guard Melsheree Reid for a game-high in that category.
Miami High had 16 steals as a team and although she still struggled from the field, Mompremier finished with 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Guards Jasmine Albert, Kenova Gay and Briana Upshur kept Krop in it but could not make a shot in the final minutes following Mendoza’s go-ahead three-pointer.
“We had a bad practice [Monday], but we just have to get our focus back,” Baumgarten said. “The way Krop played tonight shows you what a great guy and coach [Thompson] is. Even though they lost some of their best players coming into the season, they still had a great team and those kids showed a lot of heart.”
KR (21-5): Carr 8, Alberts 7, Upshur 6, Gay 4, O. Anyagaligbo 6, Hines 3. MHS (23-5): Reid 3, Mendoza 10, Johnson 6, Smith 2, Kimbrough 6, Guerrero 2, Mompremier 8. Half: K 22-13. Three-pointers: Alberts, Mendoza 2. Rebounds: Mompremier 11. Assists: Mendoza 3. Steals: Mendoza, Reid 4. Blocks: Mompremier 5.
SOUTH DADE 11, SOUTHRIDGE 1
WP: Samantha Cardillo. LP: Serrano. Top performers: Nikki Rosado 2-2, 3B, 3 RBI. Lizzie Diaz 2-3, 2 3B, 4 RBI. Crystal Bennett 1-2, RBI.
PALMETTO 11, VARELA 1
WP: Amanda Guglietta (2-0). LP: Mesa. Top performers: Amanda Guglietta 3-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI. Gaby Spallone 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI. Mia Bellinghieri 1-2, 2 R. PAL: 2-1.
BRADDOCK 14, SUNSET 4
WP: Ginyer Morales (2-0). LP: Miguel. Top performers: Beatriz Navarro 2-3. Natalie Benedit 2-3. Alyssa Flores 2-4, 3 RBI.