What timing. Four holes from closing out one of the best rounds of her young career, Brianna Buckley now couldn’t find her ball.
The Cypress Bay sophomore spent more than a minute traipsing behind the 15th green at Mission Inn’s Las Colinas course in Howey-in-the-Hills on Wednesday, to no avail. “Did I really lose this ball?” she thought to herself.
Eventually, someone suggested she check the hole.
“I’m thinking probably not, but I’ll go do it anyway,” Buckley said. “And there it was! I couldn’t believe it!”
What timing. Now it really was the round of her life, especially when Buckley followed with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17. It led to a 1-under-par 71 — a career best and more than enough fuel to propel Cypress Bay to the state Class 3A golf championship.
“She won it basically by herself,” coach Mike White said after the Lightning finished off their 10-stroke triumph over Melbourne Viera.
“We were down by four going in, and I think [Buckley’s] score compared to their No. 4 [player’s] score was better by over 20 strokes. That’s basically winning it by yourself right there.”
It was more than enough to offset a rough outing by top player Valentina Haupt, as the Lightning claimed its first state title. Cypress Bay’s team score of 653 was the lowest in the big-school championship (previously 2A) since the 2009 edition.
“This is why I love high-school golf,” White said. “Our No. 1 and No. 2 really didn’t figure in today, but we get a 71 from our No. 5 and our No. 4 shoots an 80 to clinch it for us.”
It was a day for Broward County to flex its muscle. St. Thomas Aquinas placed fourth, as three players improved upon their first-day scores. And though Western took its lumps after standing third to start the day, the Wildcats still finished in the top half with a tie for eighth.
“That’s amazing,” Aquinas coach Ed Waters said. “It’s great that the state is so well represented from Broward County. We’re proud of that.”
Cypress Bay was runner-up at last year’s 2A tournament, unable to overcome a 10-shot deficit to Lake Mary after the first day.
“The girls left here last year crying,” White recalled. “They vowed to come back and give themselves another chance.”
The resolve became even stronger when the Lightning finished a tough first day in blustery winds just four shots behind Viera.
“I went to bed [Tuesday] night thinking we can’t lose again — we can’t lose states again,” said Buckley, daughter of former Dolphins cornerback Terrell Buckley. “Then I came out here with a great attitude and played the best I could.”
Buckley had a feeling it could be a special round when she parred every hole of the front nine, but it wasn’t until the final stretch that it turned magical. The hole-in-one was her second this year, joining one she recorded at Weston Hills.
Wednesday’s 71 was Buckley’s best 18-hole score anywhere and matched the tournament’s lowest. Just one day earlier, she had turned in an 85.
“She has been grinding it out all year for us,” White said. “She never gives in. If things are going bad, she’ll find a way.”
Ariana Garcia’s 76 paced Aquinas’ second-day improvement, coming in eight shots better than Tuesday’s total. Garcia shaved six strokes off her opening score, and Julia Matzat (79) improved by four as the Raiders finished 13 shots off the pace.
“That [improvement] was really important to us,” Garcia said. “Even if we came up short, we weren’t going to be mad.”
Western, with three freshmen in the lineup, couldn’t build on its first-day momentum as no one went lower than an 84.
“We just put a little too much pressure on ourselves,” coach Nick Pincket said.
On the boys’ side, Cypress Bay slipped one spot to 12th as only Juan Pablo Arrazola (76) managed to break 80.
“We had our opportunities,” coach Vince Grossi said. “Some breaks went our way, others didn’t.”
Bradenton’s Lakewood Ranch ran off with its third consecutive title, 15 shots ahead of Lithia Newsome.
The Pembroke Pines Charter girls’ soccer team shut down North Miami Beach with an 8-0 victory.
Rachelle Smith and Alexis Noak led the Jaguars by each scoring two goals. Maya Goodman registered one goal and four assists. Rachel Lorenzo, Emily Sosa and Amy Echuchurry each scored a goal.
The Jaguars improved to 3-0-1.Pembroke Pines Charter d. North Miami Beach 8-0: Hillel d. Doctors Charter 6-0: Pine Crest d. North Broward 2-0: Palmer Trinity d. Goleman 7-2: Late Tuesday — American Heritage 14 d. Hallandale 0:
Diego Arcon led American Heritage (1-0-1) to a 6-0 victory over Hollywood Hills.
Arcon registered two goals and one assist. Facundo Cignarelli scored two goals, and David Cehin-Hung scored one goal. Kevin Ramos had one goal and one assist.American Heritage d. Hollywood Hills 6-0: South Broward d. Mourning 2-1: South Florida HEAT d. Palmer Trinity 3-2: Westminster Academy d. FAU High 7-0: Everglades 1, Miramar 1:
GIRLS’ BASKETBALLZion Lutheran d. Sagemont 72-57: Palmer Trinity d. Keys Gate Charter 60-9:
Westminster Academy vs. Monsignor Pace (Pace), 5:00
Hialeah Gardens vs. Flanagan (Flanagan), 7:00
American Heritage vs. Kathleen (Home), 7:00
Glades Day at Archbishop McCarthy, 7:00
Boyd Anderson vs. Taravella (C.Springs), 7:00
Coral Springs at Cardinal Gibbons , 7:00
West Broward at Coral Glades 7:00
Coral Springs Christian at Victory Christian 7:00
Cypress Bay vs. Northeast (Northeast), 7:00
St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Deerfield Beach (Deerfield), 7:00
Nova vs. Douglas (Douglas), 7:00
Piper vs. Everglades (Everglades), 7:00
Stranahan vs. Fort Lauderdale (Dillard), 7:00
Highlands Christian at Marco Island Academy ,7:00
Hollywood Hills at McArthur 7:00
North Broward Prep vs. Kings Academy (Wpb King), 7:00
South Plantation vs. Plantation (PAL), 7:00
South Broward vs. Western (Western), 7:00
Inlet Grove vs. Suncoast (Suncoast ), 7:00
Boca Christian at Somerset Academy, 3:00