In an outcome Coconut Creek girls’ basketball coach Max Ruback boldly declared was the changing of the guard in District 16-5A, visiting Coconut Creek used a 17-3 third quarter blitz to rally from a 29-18 halftime deficit and defeat the four-time defending Class 5A state champion Dillard 58-51 on Tuesday.
The Cougars (16-1) were projected as the No. 3 team in District 16-5A behind Dillard and American Heritage coming into the season but can lock up the number one seed in what most the toughest District in Florida with a victory over Heritage (10-3) on Thursday.
“We are in the drivers’ seat for this district right now,’’ Ruback said. “We want the number one seed in the district. Right now we have Heritage on Thursday night. If we win against Heritage on Thursday night we control it.”
In a post-game speech to his team outside the Dillard gym, Ruback declared the victory a changing of the guard.
It is a claim after a regular season victory that Dillard eight time state champion coach Marcia Pinder, the winningest coach in Florida history, appeared amused over.
Despite the uncharacteristic turnovers that opened the door for the Cougars' comeback, Pinder warned against anybody writing off her team’s bid for a run at a fifth consecutive state title.
“I don’t know about all that changing of the guard stuff,’’ Pinder said. “It is too early for that. It’s a lot more basketball left. We are still Dillard. We’re Dillard. You have to come through Dillard. That is the way it is. It’s not over.”
Trailing 29-18 at halftime, Coconut Creek stormed back with six quick points to start the third quarter and forged ahead 35-32 for good when Ambresha Long hit a long three-pointer and made a layin with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.
Coconut Creek guard Destiny Frazier had a game-high 14 points against her former team. Meanwhile, Jacaira Allen finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Tanease Richardson added 11 points.
Delise Williams added seven points, highlighted by two clutch free throws with 13.8 seconds left which gave the Cougars a 56-50 lead, and seven steals.
Dillard forward Briana Green scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half to try and stave off the Cougars. Amber Lee and Jamesha Paul added nine points each for the Panthers (11-4).
Dillard, which beat the Cougars 57-53 in their first matchup, appeared to be headed to 2-0 seaon series edge after opening a 29-18 halftime lead. The Panthers rode the hot shooting of Jade Wyatt in the second quarter to go on a 11-4 spurt. Wyatt converted a three-point play and then a left-handed layup for seven consecutive points to propel the Panthers to a 25-11 lead with 3:54 left in the second quarter.
But the Cougars outscored the Panthers 17-3 in the third quarter and got the double digit cushion they needed down the stretch with a 14-6 run to start the fourth quarter, capped by Allen’s steal and layup for a 49-38 lead with 4:22 left.Ferguson 53, South Miami 46: FER (16-2): SM:
BOYS’ BASKETBALLBraddock 44, Sunset 30: SUN: Florida Christian 65, Lasalle 43: FC (11-6): Southridge 63, Killian 50: SR (10-2): Mourning 64, MAST 24: MOU: Ransom Everglades 59, St. Brendans 27: RE:
BOYS’ SOCCERAmerican Heritage 7, Coconut Creek 0: Everglades 5, North Miami 2: Westminster Academy 5, Coral Springs Christian 3: Gulliver 7, Westminister Christian 2: Mater Lakes 8, Archbishop Carroll: Miami Country Day 1, SLAM 1: Hillel 7, Greater Miami Academy 0: Ransom Everglades 4, Keys Gate Charter 0:
GIRLS’ SOCCERUniversity School 8, Lake Worth Christian 0: MAST 8, American 0 (GMAC Quarterfinals): Ferguson 8, Miami Beach 0: Palmetto 8, Krop 1: South Miami 5, Booker T. Washington 0: Hialeah-Miami Lakes 4, Westland Hialeah 0: Westminster Christian 2, Coral Reef 1: Mater Academy 5, Florida Christian 0: St. Brendan 8, Miami High 0: Dade Christian 8, Posnack 0: