LAKELAND -- Lately, Melsheree Reid saves her best for last.
Miami High’s junior guard went scoreless Friday night until she took her final shot.
And for the second game in a row, Reid walked off the court a hero.
Nearly a week after her layup with six seconds left beat Lourdes in the regional final, Reid fired a shot from the foul line at the buzzer that bounced in to give Miami High a 46-44 victory over Orlando Colonial in a Class 8A state semifinal at The Lakeland Center.
On the game’s final possession, junior guard Terri Kimbrough put up a shot with time ticking away that clanged off the rim but bounced right to Reid. She heaved it before the buzzer sounded. The ball bounced to the front of the rim and looked for a second like it might roll off before momentum carried it through.
“We just practice that shot on our own for fun,” Reid said. “I thought it was going to come out at first, and we were going to overtime. I’m still shocked like the last time.”
Reid’s buzzer-beater capped a fourth-quarter comeback for the Stingarees (25-5) that propelled them to the state championship game Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. against defending state champion Orlando Dr. Phillips. It is Miami High’s first appearance in the final since it last won a state title in 2005.
Reid’s shot accounted for her only points of the game after she missed the only other two shots she took. In last week’s win against Lourdes, Reid finished with only six points after missing several layups during the game.
“It’s like she has a guardian angel watching over her,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “Two games in a row, she’s struggled and played awful, and then she comes up big like that for us. Maybe it’s luck. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.”
It could be inspiration.
Reid has dealt all season with the loss of her father, Melvin, who passed away a year ago. Melvin Reid was a former basketball player at Miami Beach High.
“Words can’t explain this right now,” Reid said. “It means so much to me to be able to do this and for my team.”
In addition to Reid’s heroics, Miami High got more gritty performances from several different players for the second consecutive game. Junior guard Amanda Mendoza finished with a game-high 17 points and senior forward Tynesha Johnson finished with 12 points.
Both were paramount in keeping Miami High in the game with 6-4 star sophomore center Beatrice Mompremier sidelined for most of the first three quarters with foul trouble.
Mompremier played only eight minutes 37 seconds of the first half and missed most of the second quarter after picking up her second foul.
Mompremier picked up her third foul with 5:50 left in the third and returned to the bench. She played only 11 minutes and scored four points through the first three quarters and still picked up nine rebounds.
Upon her return in the fourth quarter, however, she immediately impacted play.
Colonial had two chances to take the lead with the game tied at 44 in the final minute but missed both shots. Both times, Mompremier reached out and grabbed the rebound, first on a missed free throw and second on a long-distance three-pointer.
Colonial’s Nina Guillaume and Karma Jeremie both fouled out late as well. Mompremier also had a steal and another rebound that broke up two more chances. She finished with six points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
“Amanda and Beatrice get a lot of accolades and well-deserved,” Baumgarten said. “But the key to winning a championship is having all your people step up.”
COL (27-3): Guillaume 9, Harrison 6, Jeremie 6, Tyghter 10, Daniels 9, Hall 2, Garcia 2. MHS (25-5): Pierre 5, Johnson 12, Mompremier 6, Mendoza 17, Kimbrough 4, Reid 2. Half: COL 25-24. Fouled out: Guillaume, Jeremie. Three-pointers: Harrison 2, Mendoza 2. Rebounds: Mompremier 17. Assists: Garcia 5. Steals: Mompremier 3.