Despite being bit by the turnover bug in the National High School Invitational girls’ basketball semifinals, Dillard staged a furious fourth-quarter rally that fell short in a 60-51 loss to Archbishop Spalding (Md.) at Georgetown Prep in Maryland on Friday.
The three-time defending Class 5A state champion Panthers (28-3), a team that prides itself on ball security and forcing opponents into mistakes, did itself no favors with 16 turnovers the Cavaliers (29-1) turned into 17 of their first 29 points to build a 33-23 halftime lead.
“Those turnovers really hurt us,” said Dillard All-State forward Kayla Wright, who had a team-high 19 points. “Every time we turned it over, they scored off our mistakes. They didn’t have to set up a play. They were scoring off fast breaks.”
Dillard trailed 47-32 going into the fourth quarter before Wright sparked a 10-2 run that put the Panthers back in business.
Wright fed Briana Green for a layup, followed with a steal and layup and then found Ja Coreyah Clayton for a three-pointer that brought the Panthers within 49-42 with 6:29 left in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers closed to 54-50 with 2:59 on a layup from Eva Myers but got no closer as Wright left the game for good with a cramp in her left calf and the Cavaliers’ Tori Chestnut sealed the outcome with three free throws.
“I think we came out too nervous,” Wright said. “Archbishop Spalding came out on fire. In the third quarter we started to pick it up. How we ended the game is how we should have been playing from the beginning.”
Four Miami-Dade County football players, including three from American High, signed with Southeastern University, a first-year football program in Lakeland. American offensive linemen William Torres and Issac Reed along with defensive lineman Daniel Alvarez signed earlier this week.
Doral Academy wide receiver/defensive back Frank Genaro also signed with Southeastern.
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