LAKELAND -- Port Orange Atlantic’s Ronni Williams, the top-ranked player in the state, might not have even been the best Williams on the court Tuesday night in a dramatic Class 4A state semifinal.
Williams, a 6-2 forward and a Florida Gators recruit ranked 13th nationally, struggled early, scoring no points in the first quarter and just five in the second.
But even after she got going, it was not enough to beat a determined Coral Springs Charter team, which emerged with a monumental 53-50 upset.
CSC (24-7) will play Jacksonville Ribault for the Class 4A state title on Thursday at 4:35 p.m.
Emily Williams was one of CSC’s heroes, scoring 24 points. Chelsie Hall, an eighth-grader, grabbed a key rebound and made two free throws with 5.9 seconds left, to help put Atlantic away.
With 38 seconds left, Emily Williams had made a bank shot to put CSC in control.
Ronni Williams finished with 29 points for Atlantic (23-7).
• Class 2A state semifinal: Academy at the Lake 65, Sheridan Hills Christian 24: Sheridan’s first trip to state in girls’ basketball did not last long — about four minutes, in essence.
Sheridan fell behind 18-3 in the first half of the opening quarter. By then, it was evident that Sheridan (17-13) didn’t have the skill to knock off Lakes (25-7).
In the first two minutes, Sheridan had three of its shots blocked, turned it over twice and missed three layups. And in the first four minutes, its defense gave up five layups.
Junior guard Catlin McCluskey, who led Sheridan with 14 points, making 6 of 21 shots, credited Lakes’ defense. She said Lakes ran a box-and-one on her, rotating fresh defenders every few minutes.
“Because of their defense, I was shooting from further out than normal,” McCluskey said. “A lot of it was nerves, too, since it was our first time here. That won’t happen if we reappear.”
Lakes led 33-7 after the first quarter, and the game went to a running clock to start the second half. That helped minimize the damage, but Sheridan still turned the ball over 25 times and was held to 16.9-percent shooting.
Sheridan’s Natasha Patullo, a 6-1 sophomore who came in averaging 16 points, was held to three points on 1-of-13 shooting.
“We were nervous,” Patullo admitted. “My shots weren’t going in — it was an off night for me.”
Patullo said her goal was to have fun, but that was easier to accomplish for Lakes, which got 27 points from 6-2 forward Tatiana Manuel, one of its three senior starters.
Sheridan, meanwhile, had just one senior starter, which gives coach Chad Martin hope for the future.
“Our girls showed heart and determination all season,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
• American Heritage 7, North Broward Prep 0: Zach Ebenfeld won No. 1 singles 8-0. German Ayubi won No. 2 singles 8-6. Max Satprertpry won No. 3 singles 8-2.
Deerfield Beach 6, Monarch 1: Avery Harnson won No. 1 singles 8-4. Josh Regebel won No. 3 singles 8-2. Yash Soni won No. 5 singles 8-2. Harnson/ Youshak won No. 1 doubles 8-1. Schoenheit/Soni won No. 2 doubles 8-3
• American Heritage 4, North Broward Prep 3: Goodman won No. 1 singles 8-3. A. Gottlieb won No. 3 singles 8-6. Beuchele won No. 4 singles 8-1.