With leading scorer Taylor Jones sitting on the bench with a banged up knee, it was up to somebody else to step up for the Hialeah T-Breds on Tuesday night.
And that somebody turned out to be junior Oriana Mannertz, who scored a game-high 19 points to lead her girls’ basketball team to a 44-39 victory over Miami Central in a GMAC quarterfinal matchup in the Central gym.
Hialeah (17-6), which last won a GMAC title in 2008, advances to take on Ferguson in a semifinal at Miami High on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Miami High will play Norland at 7:30 p.m. in the second semifinal
“Leaving 18 points a game on the bench [Jones’ average] is a lot, so Ori coming out here tonight and giving the effort she did was huge,” said Hialeah head coach Denoff Johnson. “She showed a lot of poise out there.”
Hialeah held a comfortable 31-23 lead late in the third quarter before Central, led by Lanicia Bryant coming off the bench and burying three three pointers, went on a 13-2 run to go up 36-33. But Mannertz hit a pair of driving layups to spark a 7-0 run and put her team back in front for good.
HIA (17-6): Mannertz 19, Betties 13, Brown 5, Celestine 4, Campbell 3. CEN (15-4): Bryant 11, Mosquera 8, Bain 8, Dossous 5, Jenkins 3, Thompson 3, Daniels 1
▪ Ferguson 61, Booker T. Washington 33:The Falcons jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game and never looked back as the second half was played with a running clock.
Ferguson (17-7) was led by junior Sheslanie Laureano who led all scorers with 22 points followed by Natalia Pineda with 11, the only other player in double figures as coach Gabriel Lazo emptied his bench in the second half.
The only drama for Ferguson came midway through the first quarter when 6-4 sophomore sensation Cheyanne Daniels went down with an apparent knee injury. With an ice pack on her knee, she never returned to the game but left the gym under her own power without an ice pack and no noticeable limp.
FERG (17-7): Laureano 22, Pineda 11, Y. Rodriguez 9, A. Rodriguez 7, Tea Grant 3, Daniels 2, Gonzalez 2, Kingwood 2, Tee Grant 2, Charlton 1. BTW (15-4): Durant 10, Burgess 7, Brown 6, Burke 4, Godwin 3, Nelson 2, Pierre-Louis 1
▪ Norland 48, Southridge 40:The host Vikings (16-6) were led by Edreanna Jackson who poured in 17 points and Crystal Pressley who had 13 along with 10 rebounds and 3 steals.
NOR (16-6): Jackson 17, Pressley 13, Bailey 8, Seide 6, Williams 4. SR: Knox 15, Dawson 12, Bush 7, Holton 3, Harvey 30
▪ Miami High 68, Westland Hialeah 6: MIA: Rachel 14, Bucknor 13, A. Rodriguez 7, Whitley 7, Wilson 5, Perez 5, Gomez 4, J. Rodriguez 3, McReynolds 2, Scott 2, Cabanzon 2, Ward 2, Weldon 2. Rebounds: Rachel 5, Steals: Whitley 6, Assists: Weldon 5