Zion Lutheran ready to make more history with state title shot


Clash of champions

For years, fans have asked, “Who would win if Northwestern and St. Thomas Aquinas played each other?”

They’ll get an answer this fall.

Northwestern and St. Thomas Aquinas agreed this week to play their mutual season-opener at Sun Life Stadium on the weekend of August 29-31. The date will be finalized once the schedules for the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins are released.

"It’s pretty much all set, we’re just working out a few of the details now," Northwestern athletic director Andre Williams told The Miami Herald Thursday morning.

The two programs have combined for 11 state championships and three national titles. St. Thomas Aquinas won its seventh state crown this past season winning the Class 7A championship and won national titles in 2008 and 2010.

Northwestern went 9-3 last season reaching the Class 6A regional semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Central.

Northwestern has won four (1995, 1998, 2006, 2007) including a national championship in 2007.


Special to The Miami Herald

Zion Lutheran’s basketball team traveled to Lakeland last year, winning a pair of games at the Sonrise Christian Preseason Classic.

If the Lions (22-7) beat host Miami Westwood Christian Saturday night in the Class 2A regional final, they will make the trip again — this time to the Lakeland Center — for next week’s FHSAA Finals.

Second-year coach John Guion fields a team with just one senior. The others are freshmen and sophomores, a group that has played together since middle school. Guion’s assistant coach, Francis Bornelus, is in charge of that younger team.

“I really believe it’s the success that these kids have had as middle school players here at Zion Lutheran,” Guion said. “They went to Lutheran Nationals in Valparaiso where the freshmen finished second in the nation last year, and they finished 12th in the nation the year before.”

Last season, the Lions — the second seed in District 13-2A — lost in the opening round to Sheridan Hills Christian, prematurely ending a 16-6 year.

They have successfully bounced back by reaching the regional championship game for the first time in program history. This run marks just the fifth postseason appearance and the first since 2001.

“I think that was a great learning moment for us that we can be beaten by anybody,” Guion said. “They had a solid team that outplayed us. They did a great job, and our kids got to experience that burning feeling of a loss. It really set us to do better this year. It was a real motivating factor for us.”

On Tuesday, it came time for his young players to rise to the occasion against Champagnat, last year’s state runner-up with a team comprised mostly of upperclassmen.

Though Zion took an early nine-point lead, Champagnat connected on a three-pointer at the buzzer to pull ahead by 1 at halftime. The Lions fell behind by 7 before freshman Preston Piltoff’s three-pointer started a run.

With 20 seconds remaining, Zion scored the game-tying layup. After a defensive stop, Guion called a timeout. His team found freshman center Keith Stone for a post move and the go-ahead bucket. The Lions shut down Champagnat on the final possession for the 66-64 upset.

“It was exciting at the end when we finally won to make it this far,” said freshman Brandon Bornelus, who averages 16.1 points per game. “Our coach has practiced hard with us and put us through stuff that would prepare us to come out with the victory. He’s prepared me to play in big games, in situations I never thought I’d be in.”

According to Guion, that win holds up as the program’s most historic moment because it represents what he and the players have been building. The postgame euphoria epitomized their progress.

But it doesn’t end there. With a victory on Saturday, the Lions would play either defending champion Orlando Christian Prep or Ocala Vanguard on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re considered the underdogs,” said Stone, who leads the team with 19.7 points per game. “No one thought we would make it this far. We’re making Zion Lutheran history. We’re not done. We’ve got a lot more shocking to do. Every time people hear that we won it’s fun to see the expression on their faces.”


• The third annual Soccer-Max/Soccer Locker boys and girls senior all-star games will be played Friday at Plantation American Heritage. The girls game will be played at 6 p.m. followed by the boys game at 8.

• The BCAA All-Star games will be held at Nova next Thursday at 6 and 8 p.m. The Broward vs. Miami-Dade wrestling All-Star Classic will be held at South Broward at 6:30 p.m. the same day.

• The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will host their first annual Dade-Broward Senior All-Star games March 2 at Lockhart Stadium.

• The BCAA All-Star basketball games will be held March 6th (girls) at Blanche Ely and March 7th (boys) at Flanagan.

• The Florida Athletic Coaches Association will hold its senior All-Star games at the University of South Florida March 1-2 (girls) and March 8-9 (boys).

• The South Florida All-Star Basketball Classic featuring Dade and Broward’s top athletes will be held at Ransom Everglades March 9th. The event begins with the public school girls’ game at 2 p.m. followed by the private school girls’ game at 4. The public school boys’ game will start at 6 and then the private school boys’ game at 8.




WP: Lopez (1-0) 11K. LP: Bergel. Top performers: Lopez 2-2, 3 runs. Cruzpino 3-5, 3 runs, 2 SB. PC 1-0



WP: C. Chang (4-0). LP: A. Boliek. Top performers: C. Chang 4-4, triple, HR. S. Nance 3-3. CC 4-0



WP: Bramos (2-0). LP: Rayburn. Top performers: Casey Huber 3-3, 3 runs, 4 RBI. Skylar Fairchild 2-3, run, RBI. Durney 1-2. CSC 4-0



WP : Kelli Kleis (2-0). LP: Jordan Roney. Top performers: Natalie Lopez 3-4, 2 RBI, SB. Carlin Labuzan 2-2, 2 RBI. Brittany Husk 2-4, double, RBI



WP: Amanda Garcia (5-1). LP: Cathling. Top performers: A. Garcia shutout, 3K, 2-3, 2 singles, 3 runs, RBI. M. Oliva 3-3, 2 doubles, single, 4 RBI, run. I. Abreu 3-3, 2 doubles, triple, 3 RBI, 2 runs. MA 5-1.


•  Cardinal Gibbons 17, Westminster Academy 8: Charles M 6 goals. AJ Martin 5 goals. Jason Woodburn 5 goals

• Late Wednesday — St. Andrews 18, Cooper City 18-10: Xander Cohen 5 goals. Connor Geair 5 goals


•  Westminster Academy 24, Cardinal Gibbons 10: Caroline Israels 5 goals. Mary Elizabeth Mahoney 4 goals. Brianna Dumas 5 goals. WA 2-0


•  Western 6, NOVA 1: Elliot Garwood won No. 1 singles 8-0. Kirtland Longe won No. 2 singles 8-0. Dildier Vincent won No. 3 singles 8-0. Garwood/Longe won No. 1 doubles 8-1. Vincent/Esposito won No. 2 doubles 8-1

•  Pine Crest 3, Archbishop McCarthy 3 (match not completed due to darkness): Dimitri Salzman won No. 1 singles 8-6. Josh Schneirov won No. 2 singles 8-3. Simon Thylen won No. 3 singles 8-3. Dimitri Salzman/Andrew Pulisi won No. 1 doubles 8-6

•  American Heritage 7, Cardinal Gibbons 0: Ebenfeld won No. 1 singles 8-1. Ayubi won No. 2 singles 9-8. Ma. Satprertpry won No. 3 singles 8-1. Ebenfeld/Jaramillo won No. 1 doubles. Ma. Satprertpry/Mi. Satprertpry won No. 2 doubles


•  Western 7, NOVA 0: Evan Lake won No. 1 singles 8-0. Angela Cleri won No. 2 singles 8-1. Valentina Rave won No. 3 singles 8-1. Lake/Cleri won No. 1 doubles 8-0. Rave/Bluenfeld won No. 2 doubles 8-0

•  Calvary Christian 7, Chaminade 0: Kahn won No. 1 singles 8-6. Pitts won No. 2 singles 8-0. Moody won No. 3 singles 8-0. Kahn/Pitts won No. 1 doubles 8-3. Moody/Rozenblum won No. 2 doubles 8-0

•  Pine Crest 7, Archbishop McCarthy 0: Ines de Bracamonte won No. 1 singles 8-2. Dax Seidlin won No. 2 singles 8-1. Abby Tartell won No. 3 singles 8-1. Gillian Grove/Dax Seidlin won No. 1 doubles 8-5. Abby Tartell/Nicole Odzer won No. 2 doubles 8-0

•  American Heritage 5, Cardinal Gibbons 2: Wiley won No. 1 singles 8-2. Casella won No. 2 singles 8-1. S. Chinchilla won No. 3 singles 8-1. Wiley/Landi won No. 1 doubles 8-6. Dolabany/I. Chinchilla won No. 2 doubles 8-2


•  Cooper City 13, West Broward 5: Arielle Jonas 4 goals, assist. Kristi Ten goal, assist. Maylee Ball 21 saves


•  Cooper City 8, West Broward 5: Jesse Smith 2 goals. Tyler Braswell goal. Matthew Goshgarian 7 GB, assist. CC 2-0

•  Archbishop McCarthy 13, Cardinal Gibbons 7: Nick Milbury 5 goals. Kori Beck 3 goals.



Monarch vs. Coral Glades (Home), 6:30

West Broward vs. Cypress Bay (Home), 6:30

Pompano Beach vs. Dillard (Home), 6:30

Western vs. Flanagan (Home), 6:30

Cardinal Gibbons vs. Fort Lauderdale (Home), 6:30

North Miami vs. Hollywood Hills (Home), 3:45

Everglades vs. Miramar (Home), 6:30

Deerfield Beach vs. Northeast (Home), 7

Blanche Ely vs. Stranahan (Home), 3:45

Sheridan Hills Christian vs. Miami Country Day (MCD), 7


Western vs. Flanagan (Home), 6:30

Piper vs. Fort Lauderdale (Home), 6:30

Everglades vs. Miramar (Home), 4

Northeast vs. Monarch (Home), 4

McArthur vs. Nova (Home), 6:30

Cypress Bay vs. West Broward (Home), 4

Archbishop McCarthy vs. Florida Christian (FCS), 7


Louie Bing Classic prelims at Traz Powell


Fort Lauderdale vs. Flanagan (Home), 4

Cooper City vs. Pembroke Pines Charter (PPC), 4


Fort Lauderdale vs. Flanagan (Home), 4

Cooper City vs. Pembroke Pines Charter (PPC), 4


Pembroke Pines Charter vs. Cooper City (Home), 5

Douglas vs. West Boca Raton (Home), 5

St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Columbus (Columbus), 5

Flanagan vs. South Plantation (Home), 5


Flanagan vs. South Plantation (Home), 5

West Broward vs. Taravella (Home), 4

Douglas vs. West Boca Raton (Home), 5



Region 3-8A final: Jupiter at Deerfield Beach, 7

Region 4-7A final: Palm Beach Lakes at Blanche Ely, 7

Region 4-5A final: Naples Lely at American Heritage, 7

Region 4-4A final: University at Miami Ransom Everglades, 7

Region 4-3A final: Coral Springs Christian at Miami Westminster Christian, 7

Region 4-2A final: Zion Lutheran at Miami Westwood Christian, 7


Cardinal Gibbons at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7

American Heritage at Florida Christian, 7


Louie Bing Classic at Traz Powell - Running finals: noon



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

South Plantation vs. Coral Glades ( Home), 6:30

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

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

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

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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