Of the 32 girls’ basketball teams that have made it to state this week in eight classes, only Miami Country Day has an eighth-grader at the controls of its offense.
She’s Channise Lewis, a 5-8 point guard who is averaging 12 points — second on the Spartans to Danielle Minott’s 14.1 average — and a team-high five assists.
On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., when Lewis will lead the Spartans (27-1) against Seffner Christian (29-2) in a Class 3A state semifinal, Lewis will have the full confidence of MCD coach Ochiel Swaby.
“She’s not afraid of the big moments,” said Swaby, who this week becomes the first coach to lead MCD to state. “She’s one of the kids I’m least worried about as far as having a good game.”
The matchup between MCD and the Seffner Crusaders is interesting because of how similar the teams are, including their lack of size — no 6-footers on either side.
Swaby said Seffner likes to press, run and force teams to play fast, but that’s the way the Spartans want to attack, too.
“They have to be one of the best offensive teams in the state,” Swaby said of the Crusaders, who had never made it to Lakeland until losing in the state semifinals in 2011. “They have no seniors, but they can really shoot.”
Indeed, shot-making will be at a premium in this skill-vs.-skill matchup, and that could play into the hands of Lewis, who leads her team in three-pointers made (33), shooting 32 percent from distance and 43 percent overall.
Swaby said Lewis is very advanced for her age (14).
“Most of our players, we’ve taught them the game from scratch,” said Swaby, a former University of Miami and UCF standout. “But [Lewis] grew up playing against boys. She’s been competing for a long time. She’s not intimidated.”
Swaby said colleges are taking notice of Lewis. “Her shot can be tightened up, and she will learn to be more vocal as the point guard,” he said. “But she has the right demeanor — very stoic.
“She doesn’t show much emotion — even if she makes a mistake — and that’s good. With emotional players, it’s easy to get them rattled.”
• Regional 4-2A semifinal — Zion Lutheran 66, Champagnat 64: Zion Lutheran’s boys squeaked away with a victory at Northwest Christian Academy with a game-winning layup by freshman Rashad Witty.
Sophomore Keith Stone scored 25 points, nine in the fourth quarter to lead Zion Lutheran. He scored the go ahead bucket to give Zion a 64-62 lead.
“This sums up our whole season, we are very resilient,” coach John Guion said. “We work hard and refuse to lose.”
The Lions were led by senior Lucas Holanda, who was relatively quiet in the second half but still finished with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Second-half adjustments were made to eliminate the threat of Holanda ending Zion Lutheran’s playoff run, after Holanda hit a 35-foot buzzer beater to close the first half. “They play with just as much resilience as we do,” Guion said. “He’s a great shooter. ... We wanted to crowd him and not let him feel comfortable.”
D’JOUMBAREY A. MOREAU
ZL (22-7): Stone 25, Stubbs 17, Bornelus 11, Witty 7, Rojas 3, Pihoff 3. CC (20-4): Holanda 19, Leadon 11, Nairn 10, Labranche 9, Mackey 7, Domingues 6, Chapotin 2. Halftime: CC 29-28. Three-pointers: Holanda 5, Bornelus 3, Leadon 2, Labranche 1, Williams. Rebounds: Stone 10. Assists: Chapotin 7, Bornelus 6. Steals: Nairn 5, Chapotin 5
• Region 4-4A semifinal — University School 72, Archbishop Carroll 66: A late comeback effort was not enough save the Archbishop Carroll boys’ basketball season as they lost to the University on their home court.
“We played great basketball for about 32 minutes and by the end we were just hanging on,” Suns coach Adrian Sosa said. “At this point in the year win is a win. We’re one step closer to our goal… one step away.”
After a fast-paced first half, the Suns opened up the game in the third quarter, using their advantage down low to take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs, showing resilience throughout the night, began to slowly eat away at the Suns’ lead to bring the game, and the home crowd, back to life in the final minutes. Bulldogs guard Brandon Lima, who had a team-high 24 points, led the offensive charge.
With 38 seconds to go, the Bulldogs made it a two-point game thanks to an aggressive press defense that had caught the Suns off guard over the course of the final eight minutes of play.
But Suns center Maquadius Bain, dominating from inside the paint and finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds, made several big free throws and defensive stops down the stretch to help the Suns hold on.
UNI (18-7): Hewitt 9, Battle 10, Barton 11, Bullock 10, Allen 5, Bain 27. ABC (26-5): Lima 24, Garcia 7, Amaro 18, Cohen 3, Brimah 8, Brown 6. Three-pointers: Amaro 3. Rebounds: Bain 13. Assists: Hewitt 5. Steals: Battle 2.
MATER LAKES 14, JACKSON 1 (5)
WP: Brittni Montezano (1-0) 4IP, 8K. LP: Newton. Top performers: Jasmine Harris HR, 4RBI. Melanie Arauz 2 RBI. ML (5-0)
BRADDOCK 13, CORAL PARK 0 (5)
WP: Ginyer Morales (3-1). LP: Kim Avalos. Top performers: Beatriz Navarro 2-3, 2 runs. Natalie Benedit 2-2, 2 runs. Jeneese Santana 2-3. BRA 3-2
GOLEMAN 10, MIAMI HIGH 0 (5)
WP: Emily Santos 6K (1-0). Top performers: Anie Montalvo 2-3, 6 RBI, 2 triples. Melissa Costero 2-2, 3 runs, 3 SB. Chastity Velez 1-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs, SB
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 12, WESTWOOD CHRISTIAN 0 (5)
WP: Devan Cinalli (5-0). LP: Liz Jenkins. Top performers: Mailyn Gonzalez 3 runs. Emily Vaglio 3 RBI. Madison Armand 2 RBI
PRINCETON CHRISTIAN 18, COLONIAL CHRISTIAN 0 (3)
Top performers: Heather Hedges 1-1, triple, 2 RBI, 3 runs. Alex Windley 1-1, 4 RBI. PC 1-1
KILLIAN 4, CORAL REEF 0
WP: Keith Stevens (2-0). LP: Luis Grullon. Top performers: Mike Perez 2-3, HR, 3 RBI. Keith Stevens no hitter. Nick Mira 1-1, RBI. KIL 4-0
TERRA 3, RANSOM EVERGLADES 0
WP: Alexis Valladares 6IP, 12K. LP: Armas. Top performers: Andres Perez 1-2, HR, RBI. Angel Mestre double, RBI, run. Reuben Pino 2 doubles, RBI. TER 3-0
• Hebrew Academy 7, Dade Christian 0: Ariel Gringarden won No. 1 singles 8-0. Jacob Mitrani won No. 3 singles 8-2. Zachary Daniel won No. 4 singles 8-2. Chad Mason/ Aaron Afriat won No. 1 doubles 8-1. HA 1-0
• Mourning 7, Hialeah Miami Lakes 0: Giancarlo Penton won No. 1 singles 8-2. David Jaworski won No. 2 singles 8-5. Sam Prudhomme won No. 3 singles 8-0. MOU 5-0
• Miami Springs 6, Hialeah Gardens 1: David Fernandez won No. 1 singles 8-1. Kefyn Tamboboy won No. 2 singles 8-6. Cory Harrington won No. 3 singles 8-1. Jose Suarez/ Harrington won No. 1 doubles 8-0. David Perez/Devin Valdes won No. 2 doubles 8-1
• Mourning 7, Hialeah Miami Lakes 0: Jackie Rosales won No. 1 Singles 8-0. Nati Hernandez won No. 2 singles 8-0. Alex Cabezas won No. 3 singles 8-1. MOU 5-0
• Miami Springs 5, Hialeah Gardens 2: Jocelyn Salazar won No. 1 singles. Erica Bradley won No. 2 singles. Kelley Alvarez won No. 3 singles. Gina Quick/Alvarez won No. 1 doubles 8-2. Bradley/Sanchez won No. 2 doubles 8-0
The girls won 7-0
• Hebrew Academy 7 Dade Christian 0: Dina Sedighim won No. 1 singles 8-1. Zoe Hamburger won No. 2 singles 8-0. Alix Klein won No. 3 singles 8-2. Andrea Weiss/ Hailey Dobin won No. 1 doubles 8-1. HA 1-0