Panthers surviving without star player


Last week’s best performances


Daniel Gutierrez’s goal in the 25th minute held up and the Cypress Bay (19-2-4) soccer team posted its seventh consecutive postseason shutout to beat previously undefeated Winter Garden West Orange 1-0 in the Class 5A title game to become the first Florida public school to win three consecutive boys’ soccer state titles.


Bernadette Devaney, Nova, girls’ basketball: Devaney had a game-high 20 points, including the tying basket and the go-ahead three-pointer as time expired, to help the Titans (21-7) shock host Palm Beach Lakes 56-53 in the Region 4-7A final.

Tre Dingus, Coral Springs, baseball: Dingus went 3 for 3 with a home run and four RBI to lead the Colts over Fort Lauderdale 10-3.

Jamal Morris, Cardinal Gibbons, wrestling: Morris (41-0) won his third Class 1A state title in a row at 126 pounds Saturday.

Emily Gale, Calvary Christian, girls’ track: Gale won the pole vault to help the defending Class 1A state champion win its meet.

Caio Hernandez, Monarch, boys’ tennis: Hernandez won at No. 1 singles to help the Knights defeat Nova 5-2.

Ross Udine, Cypress Bay, boys’ basketball: Udine had 17 points to lead the Lightning (19-5) over Douglas 49-41 in the Region 3-8A quarterfinals.

Chase Singletary and Franco Valdes, Somerset, wrestling: Singletary (38-2) won at 145 pounds to capture his third consecutive Class 1A state title, and Valdes (55-3) won the 113-pound title.

Radley Gillis, Archbishop McCarthy, wrestling: Gillis (65-1) won the Class 2A state title in the 106-pound class.

Malik Price-Martin, Northeast, boys’ basketball: The 6-10 center had 19 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks as the Hurricanes escaped with a 55-53 victory at McArthur in the Region 4-7A quarterfinals.

Caitlin McCluskey, Sheridan Hills Christian, girls’ basketball: McCluskey had a team-high 15 points to help the Sharks (17-12) advance to their first state semifinal with a 51-46 victory over Westwood Christian in the Region 4-2A championship game.

Kevin Jacques, South Broward, wrestling: Jacques won the Class 3A state title in the heavyweight division.

Khalil Thomas, Blanche Ely, boys’ basketball: Thomas had a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Tigers (23-1) over St. Thomas Aquinas 72-37 in the Region 4-7A quarterfinals.

Kayla Wright, Dillard, girls’ basketball: Wright had 18 points and 16 rebounds to lead the two-time defending state champion Panthers over Cape Coral 57-32 in the Region 4-5A final.

Celia Wojcik, Coral Springs Charter, girls’ basketball: Wojcik had 12 points and 10 rebounds to help the Panthers (23-7) to a 43-31 victory over Gulliver Prep in the Region 4-3A championship game.


Special to The Miami Herald

Facing the top-ranked player in the state won’t faze coach Ericka Haney or her Coral Springs Charter team — not after what they’ve been through to get to Lakeland.

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Panthers (23-7) will take on Daytona Beach Atlantic (23-6) in a Class 4A state semifinal at the Lakeland Center.

Atlantic features Ronni Williams, a 6-2 forward ranked by ESPN as the 13th-best senior in the nation and No. 1 in the state. She is the highest-rated player ever to sign with the Florida Gators.

“She’s long and athletic, and she can shoot, handle and post up,” Haney said of Williams, who is averaging 20 points, 11 rebounds and three assists per game. “She’s an excellent player.”

Coral Springs had its own excellent player, Aisha Edwards, a 5-6 point guard who was ranked third in the state in the junior class by ESPN.

But Haney indicated Monday that Edwards was dismissed from the team a couple of weeks ago for disciplinary reasons. Edwards left the school and is now at West Boca Raton.

Without getting specific about what happened — and out of respect to Edwards and her brother Fitzroy Anthony, who was the Panthers’ coach last year — Haney said the decision was easy.

“If team rules are violated, there have to be consequences or you can’t have a team,” said Haney, who was Anthony’s assistant last season.

Anthony, who led the Panthers to their first state semifinals appearance last year, declined comment. He is now an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University.

But Haney, who was a 6-0 junior forward when Notre Dame won a women’s basketball national championship in 2001, said she is still close friends with Anthony, and he understood her call.

“We’ve moved on,” Haney said. “Our girls have stepped up.”

Haney knows about stepping up. She had 13 points in the 2001 final.

Edwards had averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Panthers.

Since her departure, Celia Wojcik, a 6-1 junior center, has made great strides, according to Haney, who also praised her four starting guards: senior Morgan Smellie, junior Emily Williams, sophomore Jade Wyatt and “fearless” eighth-grader Chelsie Hall.

Williams is the leading remaining scorer (11.8 ppg), but the Panthers are not intimidated. They faced six teams that made it to state, winning two and playing tough against the likes of Dwyer, Norland, Dillard and Grandview Prep.

“I feel like we’re in an even matchup,” Wyatt said of the Atlantic game. “[Since Edwards left], we’ve gotten stronger. We’ve had to rely on each other more.”

• Class 2A state semifinal: The Sheridan Hills Christian Sharks (17-12) play Academy of the Lakes (24-7) Tuesday at 4 p.m.

This is the Sharks’ first season to extend past the regional quarterfinals. Second-year coach Chad Martin, who is also athletic director, lost three starters off last year’s team that lost in the district playoffs.

But the Sharks returned 5-8 junior guard Caitlin McCluskey and added Calvary Christian transfer Natasha Patullo, a 6-1 sophomore forward. McCluskey leads the team in scoring (18) and assists (4.5). Patullo is averaging 16 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds.


Late Saturday – Killian 7, Flanagan 5


WP: Vladamir Nunez. LP: Chris Rodriguez.

Late Thursday – Pace 6, St. Thomas Aquinas 1


WP: Merrill. LP: Frank Rubio (0-1). Top performer: Christian Demby (STA) 2-4.



Region 3-8A semifinal: Deerfield Beach at Cypress Bay, 7

Region 4-7A semifinal: Northeast at Blanche Ely, 7

Region 4-6A semifinal: Pembroke Pines Charter at Norland, 7

Region 4-5A semifinal: Dillard at American Heritage, 7

Region 4-4A semifinal: University School at Archbishop Carroll, 7

Region 4-3A semifinal: Coral Springs Christian at Sagemont, 7

Region 4-2A semifinal at Northwest Christian: Zion Lutheran vs. Champagnat, 7


Northeast vs. Boyd Anderson (Home), 3:45

South Plantation at Coral Glades, 6:30

Piper vs. Coral Springs (Home), 6:30

Western vs. Cypress Bay (Home), 6:30

Douglas vs. Deerfield Beach (Home), 6:30

West Broward vs. Everglades (Home), 6:30

Pompano Beach at Fort Lauderdale, 6:30

Hallandale at American Heritage, 3:45

Flanagan vs. Miramar (Home), 6:30

Coconut Creek vs. Monarch (Home), 3:45

Cooper City at South Broward, 6:30

Hollywood Hills at Stranahan, 3:45

Pines Charter at Taravella, 6:30


Coral Springs vs. Hollywood Hills (Fort Lauderdale), 5:30

Cypress Bay at Fort Lauderdale, 7:30

Western vs. Northeast (Home), 7:30

Flanagan vs. Nova (Home), 6:30


South Broward at Cooper City, 6:30

Taravella vs. Coral Springs (Home), 6:30

Western vs. Cypress Bay (Home), 6:30

St. Thomas Aquinas at McArthur, 6:30

Coconut Creek vs. Northeast (Home), 6:30

Plantation vs. Nova (Home), 6:30

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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