LAKELAND -- Miami’s most tradition-rich basketball school has another state championship to call its own.
And now, it’s Miami High’s girls who are starting a trophy collection.
At the school with a state-record 18 boys’ basketball championships, the Stingarees girls picked up their second overall and first since 2005 on Saturday night with a 49-33 victory over Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast in the Class 8A final at The Lakeland Center.
“The boys’ team has always been an inspiration to us, and we always loved looking up in our gym and seeing all their banners up there,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “At Miami High, basketball is treated like family. We had our little one [from 2005] in the corner for a long time. Now, we can put another one next to it.”
Miami High (31-1), which entered the tournament ranked No. 21 nationally by USA Today, led from start to finish behind a collectively dominant defensive performance to complete the best season in program history. The victory came a year after the Stingarees had come up short against Orlando Dr. Phillips in the Class 8A final.
“This is an amazing feeling; it’s breathtaking,” said guard Amanda Mendoza, a senior who has been a pivotal part of the team for the past four seasons.
Junior center Beatrice Mompremier earned Class 8A tournament MVP honors with a 13-point, 15-rebound performance that followed her 16-point, 15-rebound game in Friday’s semifinal win against Sanford Seminole.
At 6-4, Mompremier, one of the top prospects in the nation in her class, again gave her opponents fits underneath the basket.
“I’m happy and excited, and I don’t even know what to say right now,” Mompremier said. “We’re going to go celebrate and throw away the runner-up trophy [from last year] because we don’t need it anymore.”
Miami High’s core of five seniors was vital throughout the season to its success and dominance. One of them, guard Antranae Alvin, set the tone early Saturday.
Alvin scored eight of Miami High’s first 12 points and finished with 13 points. Alvin also contributed on the defensive end with two steals and played a big part in forcing 16 Treasure Coast turnovers.
“This was my first time playing here, so we had to make a statement [Saturday night],” Alvin said.
The Stingarees led by 15 at the end of the third quarter after holding the Titans (23-6) to only four points in the third.
TC (23-6): Sagner 8, Jean 7, Romano 5, Julien 10, Kolb 3. MHS (31-1): Kimbrough 3, Reid 2, Mompremier 13, Mendoza 14, Alvin 12, Sweeting 5. Half: MHS 22-14. Technical: TC bench. Three-pointers: Mendoza 2, Sagner 2, Julien, Kolb, Alvin. Rebounds: Mompremier 15. Assists: Queen 3. Steals: Queen 3. Blocks: Mompremier 3.