Fresh off receiving their shiny, new state championship rings on Saturday night, it’s back to business for the three-time defending Class 5A state champion Dillard girls’ basketball team.
The Panthers (9-0) host District 16-5A archrival American Heritage (6-2) on Tuesday in a marquee matchup, which has been long circled on the calendar.
Dillard took three of four against the Patriots last season, culminating in a 67-53 Region 4-5A regional semifinal victory, which propelled Dillard to its fourth consecutive state title under Hall of Fame coach Marcia Pinder.
The game will give high scoring Heritage guard Samantha Johnson, who transferred this past summer, her first taste of a hard-fought rivalry which should once again decide which 5A power advances to the state championship.
Southern University signee Briana Green, a 5-11 forward, has picked up some of the slack and will most likely be called upon to show her defensive versatility by guarding Johnson during key stretches.
Johnson is coming off a team-high 20 points performance against Cardinal Gibbons on Saturday when she helped the Patriots rally for a 72-51 victory.
Pinder, her long-time assistant coach George Adams and staff and holdovers from the 2012-13 state championship season, including Green, were honored following the Panthers’ victory over Blanche Ely.
Pinder has upped her Florida all-time winningest coaching record to 841-178 as she tries to help Dillard tie Jacksonville Ribault for nine state titles, the most all-time in Florida girls prep basketball.
Doctors Charter at Sagemont, 7
Douglas at Coconut Creek, 7:30
American Heritage at Dillard, 7:30
Everglades at Pinecrest Prep, 4
North Broward Prep at Blanche Ely, 7
Fort Lauderdale at Boyd Anderson, 7
Stranahan at Hallandale 5
Hollywood Hills at South Broward, 4
St. Thomas Aquinas at American Heritage, 8
Doctors Charter at Sagemont, 5:30
Cooper City at Western 5
American Heritage at Dillard, 5
Douglas at North Broward Prep, 5
University School at Pompano Beach, 5
St. Thomas Aquinas at American Heritage, 5