When things bog down, Flanagan girls’ basketball coach Latravis Bernard can always call on defensive ace Mikiah Harrigan to spark a run.
Uber athletic and competitve, Harrigan uses a 6-6 wingspan to block shots and alter others, leading to fast break baskets on the other end.
“When I play defense, I take everything personal,” said Harrigan, 6-2, who was a Class 8A first-team all-state selection last season.
“I don’t like to be scored on.”
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Harrigan’s shot-blocking prowess is one of the measurable which could launch Flanagan on a trip to the state finals for the first time this season.
Flanagan is smarting after being knocked out of the 8A regional semifinals by two-time defending state champ Miami High last season, the second consecutive exit at the hands of the Stingarees.
The Falcons, however, believe it is their time to emerge out of a loaded region which includes the still formidable Stingarees, Lourdes, Ferguson and South Miami.
“I’m not losing to Miami High again this year,” Harrigan said. “We should be a lot better. We have a lot more versatility. We are playing at a much faster pace and that should help us.”
Harrigan, who considers WNBA Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles a mentor, opened her case to be Class 8A Player of the Year with 29 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks and eight assists in a win over Blanche Ely on Tuesday
With Harrigan’s expanded offensive game, 2014-15 Broward Player of the Year Jennifer Oramas (16.1 points, four rebounds, three steals , three assists), Jada Lubin and Tharalee Mompelas added into the mix, Flanagan should be decidedly more explosive this season.
“It starts on the defensive end.” Bernard said. “Mikiah controls the paint for us. She changes the game for us down on that end. It gives us an opportunity to use our athletic ability to get out and run. Anytime you get easy points it bodes well for your basketball team.”
A year ago Flanagan showed signs of becoming a serious contender with victories over traditional state powers South Broward and Nova.
Harrigan will need to be at her best to help the Falcons navigate a daunting schedule, which includes road dates against reigning 3A state champion Miami County Day, South Broward and Norland.
“Mikiah is the best teammate,” Oramas said. “She is so long she can guard two people at the same time She changes a lot of players shots because they know she is a great shot blocker.
“She makes my job easier.”
Dec: 26-30: Deerfield Beach Holiday Blitz; Dec. 28-30: Florida Prospects Invitational (Orlando); Hollywood Christian Holiday Tournament; Jan. 15-16: Team MVP Sports M.L.K Super Showcase (Dillard); Jan. 23-25: BCAA Girls Big 8 Tournament (South Plantation); Jan. 25-30: District tournaments; Feb 4: Regional quarterfinals (Classes 2A-8A); Feb. 4: Regional semifinals (1A); Feb. 9: Regional tournament semifinals (2A-8A); Feb. 9: Regional finals (1A); Feb. 12: Regional finals (5A-8A); Feb. 13: Regional finals (2A-4A); Feb. 16-20: Florida state final four (Lakeland Center).
4. Blanche Ely
5. South Broward
6. Fort Lauderdale
8. Deerfield Beach
9. Cardinal Gibbons
10. Calvary Christian
On the rise: Highlands Christian, Westminster Academy, Piper, St. Thomas Aquinas.
2014-15 STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 8A: Miami High; 7A: Palm Beach Lakes; 6A: Pine Forest; 5A: Dillard; 4A: Lake Highland Prep; 3A: Miami Country Day; 2A: FAMU. 1A: Freeport.
G Raquel Rosa, Westminster Academy, Jr.; G Kanesha Battle, Blanche Ely, Sr.; F Ayanna Armstead, Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.; G Brianna Battle, Blanche Ely, Jr.; C Amber Bender, Calvary Christian, Sr.; F Shante Walker, South Broward, Jr.; F Jacaira Allen, Dillard, Sr.; F Amaya Scott, Piper, Jr.; F Mackenzie Sadaka, South Broward, Jr.; G Destiny Frazier, Dillard, Sr.; C Mikiah Harrigan, Flanagan, Sr.; G Jennifer Oramas, Flanagan Sr.; F Rikiah Cowart, Nova, Jr.; C Mary Katherine Moore, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; C Ashley Santigene, Northeast, Sr.; G Keyanna Warthen, Fort Lauderdale, Jr.; F Jordin Gomes, Taravella, Sr.; C Hayley Duran, American Heritage, Sr.; F Britnee Gabriel, Piper, So.; G Nailah Delinois, Northeast, Sr.; G Destiny Walters, Hallandale, Jr.