Girls’ basketball

Coconut Creek Cougars pose a threat in Big 8

 
 
Dillard’s Kagene Grier is surronded by Coconut Creek’s Delise Williams (22) and Tanese Williams (10) during their game at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 7, 2014.
Dillard’s Kagene Grier is surronded by Coconut Creek’s Delise Williams (22) and Tanese Williams (10) during their game at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 7, 2014.
CHARLES TRAINOR JR / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

flyon@MiamiHerald.com

Even with Class 5A No. 1 Coconut Creek blowing a nine-point halftime lead and losing 54-49 to South Broward (16-5) on Tuesday night, don’t count out the Cougars (19-2) crashing the Dillard-Nova BCAA Big 8 championship party at South Plantation on Saturday.

While the consensus is Dillard and Nova will meet in the Big 8 championship game for the seventh time in the past eight seasons, Creek has the talent and mental toughness to upset the status quo.

“I think this team, as opposed to years past, has talent top to bottom,’’ Coconut Creek seventh-year coach Max Ruback said. “Plus, they have really bought into a defensive mind-set. When you have a team buying into playing defense, hard core, good things are only going to come your way.”

Creek faces a tough quarterfinal matchup against Fort Lauderdale (16-4) and 5-10 freshman standout Keyanna Warthen (16.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 5.2 steals) at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Four-time defending Class 5A state champion Dillard and star forward Briana Green plays Flanagan at 3:30.

A match-up of top guards unfolds when Class 8A No. 4 Cypress Bay and Scarlett Rocha faces Northeast (12-6) and Shuantavia Dobson. Class 7A No. 2 Nova, led by its one-two punch of Bernadette Devaney and Kiani Lurry, plays resurgent Deerfield Beach (16-6) in the last quarterfinal.

Creek has vaulted to the top of the 5A poll behind a swarming defense and incredible depth, led by leading scorer Destiny Frazier and Delise Williams, a lockdown defender.

Any of seven players, including Jacaira Allen, a fierce offensive rebounder and Tanease Richardson, can lead the Cougars in scoring on any given night, making Creek difficult to game plan for.

The biggest difference in the other talent-laden teams Ruback has brought to the Big 8, however, is the warrior-type mentality this season’s squad has shown.

If road victories over Cypress Bay, Class 5A No. 3 American Heritage and Class 2A No. 6 Zion Lutheran wasn’t enough proof this Creek team is mentally equipped to win it all, then rallying from a 29-18 halftime deficit and defeating Dillard 58-51 at arguably the toughest venue for a visiting team should have won over all skeptics.

Anticipation is already building for a possible Nova-Creek match-up in the semifinals on Friday.

“Nova is historically a great program,’’ Ruback said. “Coach [Jason] Hively does a tremendous job there. I think our girls are going to have a tremendous practice and get ready for Fort Lauderdale. We have a very hungry group of young ladies. I think we have a great opportunity to play Saturday night for the championship, and I will leave it at that.”

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Kristi Isabelle, a home schooled senior representing the South Florida HEAT Team, won the 300m hurdle during the Region 4-1A track meet on Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014, at Killian.

    Track and field

    Westminster’s James achieves rare sprint triple at regionals

    Westminster Academy’s Andrew James showed the Region 4-1A field at Dade Christian why he’s become one of the biggest box office draws in Florida.

  • Water Polo

    STA sweeps to district titles

    Anna Smith-Johnson scored three goals as St. Thomas Aquinas put a halt to Fort Lauderdale’s improbable turnaround season in Thursday’s District 10 title game at Fort Lauderdale.

  • Tennis | Class 1A state championships

    Young Sagemont boys’ team finishes third at state

    With a young team already facing an uphill battle to defend Sagemont’s Class 1A boys’ tennis title, coach Steven Browne brought a few extra passengers up to this week’s state tournament.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category