Archbishop McCarthy playing before its rabid student rooting section “The Zoo” could level the playing field against Class 5A No. 2 American Heritage, No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons and No. 4 Dillard in a District 16-5A semifinal that has created the biggest buzz in Florida.
The District’s “Big 3” is bracing for an earful from a home fan base that helped the Morrell Center earn the distinction of most difficult South Florida High School gym for opponents to play in by the FHSAA.
Taking a page from Duke’s Cameron Crazies, “The Zoo” features supporters outfitted in full body spandex suits and wearing face paint alternating ear-curdling screams, thunderous foot stomps, creative zingers and hand-waving distractions during free-throws to rattle opponents.
Archbishop’s Brady McBride, who leads the county’s most dynamic four-guard lineup along with Elie Richard, David Moya and Corey Talbot, said “The Zoo” gets the gym so amped that opposing teams are unable to hear their own calls.
“When we are on defense I feel other teams can’t even call their plays or communicate,” McBride said. “When we are on offense, they know how to stay quiet. Having your fans out there supporting you makes you want to do that much better, hustle that much more. The only way to thank them is by winning and putting on a show for them.”
Archbishop will face Cardinal Gibbons (21-5) while American Heritage (19-6) and Dillard (18-5) will square off, which will inevitably lead to a team ranked in the state’s top four going home in the first round.
The Mavericks (18-5) have shown they belong with victories over American Heritage and Dillard, and a loss to Cardinal Gibbons on a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Throw in the energy Archbishop will feed off from its zany fan base, and it’s not inconceivable, the Class 5A No. 7 Mavericks — not even on the radar before the seas on started — could be posing with the District 16-5A trophy on Saturday night.
“I think the District should be the state final four,” said Mavericks coach Mark Saxton. “It’s a championship game every time you play one of them. That is why the sixth man is so important. It is hard for other teams to come in and play their best basketball. Right now ‘The Zoo’ is invaluable.”
• Monarch 11, Pompano 5: WP: Emily Forbes (1-0). LP: Jessica Abrahamson. Top performers: Sarah Goldman 2-3, HR, 3 RBI. Victoria Alonzo 2-4, 2 runs, RBI. MON 1-0.• McArthur 12, South Broward 1: WP: Janis Gomez (1-0). LP: Angie Norris (0-1).
• Coral Springs Charter 14, Calvary Christian 4: WP: Fairchild (1-0). LP: C. Chang (0-1): Top Performers: Calvary: M. Veliz, 3 RBI: Calvary (0-1).
• Archbishop McCarthy 7, Calvary Christian 0: 1. R. Gil d. Caitlin Kahn 8-6. 2. K. Berman d. Kristi Pitts 8-0. 3. Paola Gonzalez d. Mackenzie Moody 8-0. 4. Gloria Cabrero d. Sam Rosenblum 8-0. 5. Jessica Menendez d. Nicole Dattero 8-0. Doubles: 1. Berman / Menendez d. Pitts/Rosenblum 8-5. 2. Gonzalez / Cabrero d. Moody/Dattero 8-2.• Cardinal Gibbons 3, Ft. Lauderdale 4: Singles - Groeneveld (CG) d. Gomez-Diaz 8-2; Romero (FL) d. Landi 8-4 ; Stevens (FL) d. Norton 8-0; Bennis (FL) d. Harmon 8-5; VanSciver (CG) d. Herrera 8-0. Doubles: Groeneveld/Landi (CG) d. Gomez Diaz/Romero 8-2; Stevens/Bennis( FL) d. Norton/Cumming 7-8 (7-3) due to darkness
• Archbishop McCarthy 6, Calvary Christian 1: 1. A. Puglisi d. Michael Mendez 8-3. 2. F. LaFontant d. Keegan O'Leary 8-6. 3. W. Paniagua d. Keegan Hinsly 8-1. 4. L. Gallego d. C. Keller 8-5. 5. N. Goncalves d. N. Gourry 8-1. Doubles: 1. Mendez/OLeary (CC) d. S. Plate/j. Bradley 8-0. 2. A. Balke/ N. Menendez d. Hinsly / Keller 8-2.
• Cardinal Gibbons 5, Ft. Lauderdale 2: Singles - Mooney (FL) d. Ernewein 8-2; Northecide (CG) d. Fonseca 8-0; Cole (CG) d. Lowe 8-2; Taylor (CG) d. Thibodeaux 8-0 ; Mendazo (CG) default; Doubles: Mooney/Fonseca (FL) d. Mendoza/Lang 8-2; Piedra/Lordon (CG) d. Lowe/Thibodeaux 8-1
• Coral Reef 7, South Miami 0: Singles: 1. Johann Rapp d. Jesus Rodriguez 8-0. 2. Lucas Nickolich d. Mark Batista 8-0. 3. Pedro Otala d. Cristian Burey 8-0. 4. David Vasserman d. Wilmer Mendoza 8-0. 5. Simon Galvis (no opponent). Doubles: 1. Alexandre Monnier and Bryce Todd d. Jesus Rodriguez and Mark Batista 8-3. 2. Hugo Rodriguez and Simon Galvis d. Cristian Burey and Wilmer Mendoza 8-0.• Miami Beach 6, Columbus 1: No. 2 singles: Justin Wald won 9-8. No. 3 singles: Omar Azzaoui won 8-3. No. 4 singles: Sam Turken won 9-7. No. 5 singles: Jonathan Hirschenson won 8-2. MB 1-0.
District 12-8A final at Cypress Bay: 7
District 13-8A semifinals at Miramar: Miramar vs. McArthur, 6; Everglades vs. Flanagan, 7:30
District 15-7A semifinals at South Broward: Nova vs. Plantation, 6; St. Thomas Aquinas vs. South Broward, 7:30
District 15-3A semifinals at Miami Country Day: Hillel-International School of Broward winner vs. Miami Country Day-Doctors Charter winner, 5; Dade Christian-Archbishop Curley winner vs. Sagemont-Hialeah Ed./Somerset Central winner, 7