Four-time defending Class 5A state champions Dillard took Suncoast’s best shot for three quarters in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals before a 12-2 run in crunch time sealed a hard-fought 57-49 victory at Suncoast on Thursday.
Jamesha Paul filled up the box score with a game-high 19 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and five steals to keep the Panthers’ bid for a fifth consecutive state title alive.
I know I had to step it up tonight,’’ Paul said. “I had to rebound and score more. As long as everybody comes together we can do it, we can make it happen.”
Amber Lee added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Tyler Wilks added 10 points for the No. 3 Panthers (19-6).
The victory sets up a highly anticipated rematch with Class 5A No. 1 Coconut Creek (23-3), the Panthers’ biggest hurdle to a five-peat, in the regional semifinals next Tuesday.
Creek took both meetings with Dillard this season, including a 69-40 victory over Dillard in the District 16-5A championship game last Saturday.
Suncoast (16-7) came within a quarter, however, of spoiling Dillard’s date with its biggest rival.
The Chargers fed off its 6-1 center Jaylin Hawkins, who dominated the Panthers inside with 14 first half points as Dillard held a tenuous 28-27 halftime lead.
Dillard wasted a golden opportunity to put some distance between them and the Chargers when Hawkins picked up her third foul with 7:42 left in third quarter and went to bench.
Instead, the Chargers’ supporting cast played Dillard to a standstill and ultimately opened a 37-35 lead with 1:47 left in the third quarter when Hawkins returned to the game.
Lee, however, provided the spark Dillard was missing by hitting a three-pointer from the volleyball ball line to beat the third quarter buzzer and draw Dillard to within 41-40.
That shot set the stage for a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter, led by Paul who fed Ragene Grier for layup and then took a pass from Grier for a layup of her own.
Tierra Wilks, which led a Dillard defense that held Hawkins to two points in the second half, then stripped the ball from Hawkins and went coast to coast for a layup and 48-43 Dillard lead with 5:27 left, prompting a Chargers’ timeout.
“In the fourth quarter we played some tough defense, some swarming defense,’’ Dillard coach Marcia Pinder said. “In the first half we were real lax and Hawkins had a chance to get the ball with ease and will. In the second half, we tightened it up and made it harder for their guards to drop that ball into her. That was the difference tonight.”
Dillard 58, Suncoast 49: Dill (19-6): Paul 19, Tierra Wilks 5, Tyler Wilks 10, Wyatt 8, Grier 4, Lee 12. Sun (16-7): Winn 7, Hawkins 18, Nehme 2, Virgo 6, Regenbaum 4, M. Schmidt 8, Hineman 2, McCray 2. Half: Dill 28-27. Three-pointers: Tyler Wilks 2, Lee 2, M. Schmidt 1. Rebounds: Grier 12, Paul 12, Lee 10. Steals: Wyatt 8, Paul 5. Assists: Paul 8.
Bernadette Devaney scored 11 points and Trellanie English-Lurry added 10 for Nova.
The Titans face St. Thomas Aquinas in a class 7A regional semifinal game.
“We wanted to play our game,” said Devaney, who had 11 points and three three-pointers for the Titans. “We came out a little slow in the first half and we needed to come out and pick it up. We used our speed and came out and played team basketball.”
“We are all about defense in this program,” said Coconut Creek coach Max Ruback. “We want to come out and play the hardest defense in the state.”
CC (23-3): Williams 13, Richardson 10, Allen 12, Johnson 6, Long 6. Bay (11-8): Parish 12, Venable 5, Peyton 5, S. Berliner 4, Boyer 4. Halftime: CC 56-14. Three-pointers: James, Long, Williams, Venable.
“[Harrigan] knows that when the defense focuses on the guards, she'll be open,” Flanagan coach Winsor Daniel said. “When she gets doubled up, we have the guards who could shoot.”
Dr. Krop: Upshur 12, Gay 10, Blot 8, Alberts 5, Broman 3, Robert 0. Flanagan: Harrigan 17, J. Oramas 15, S. Oramas 8, Albano 8, Wilburn 5, Neary 3, Roy 2, Cogdell 2, Marquez 1. Rebounds: Harrigan 5. Assists: J. Oramas 2. Steals: J. Oramas 5
It was not a pretty game, but when the Eagles had to finish the Bengals off, they did that with a big run to start the second half.
Leading 25-20 going into the break, it was the Eagles that imposed their will. They opened the second half on an 11-0 run that gave them a 36-20 lead with just under three minutes to play in the quarter.
“We were doing a little bit looking ahead. We beat Piper pretty bad earlier this season. I think they were looking forward to the next game which is not a good thing,” Douglas coach Larry Moore said.
Douglas center Sarah Cooper dominated the action during the run cleaning the boards, blocking shots and dishing assists. Cooper led Douglas with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists.
“Getting her the ball is a priority of ours. She can finish. She can make her shots and make free throws,” Moore said.
That was all the space the Eagles needed. The game never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
If not for 21 missed free throws by the Eagles, the game could have been much worse. In all, Douglas shot a ridiculous 49 free throws, unheard of in a high school basketball game. Four Piper players fouled out of the game.
P (7-11) – Gambrill 2, McGuigan 8, White 7, Davis 2, Noel 2, Moss 12, Voltaire 3, Brown 1, Pichardo 1. D (18-7) – Mogent 9, Cooper 17, Enos 7, Rosa 8, Rampersad 5, Arinus 7, Rabby 1, Charles 1. Site: Douglas. Half: Douglas 25-20. Three-Pointers: Cooper, White. Rebounds: Cooper 11. Assists: Cooper 2. Blocks: Cooper 3. Steals: Cooper 5. Fouled Out: Noel, White, McGuigan, Charles, Rosa.
With the Lady Lions ahead by 22 points with 7:03 minutes remaining the fourth quarter, Palmer Trinity (25-3) made a push for a late comeback but it was too late as Sagemont's Samantha Provenzano and Kandice Smith hit back-to-back three pointers to end the bid.
" We just passed ball well tonight,and we did a good job finding our open teammates. Our defense hustled and executed well." Freshmen Guard Kelsey Marshall said.
The Lady Lions defense forced key turnovers during much of the game, and took a commanding 23-10 lead into the locker room at the half.
" Palmer Trinity is a good and classy team, we knew coming into the game they would be ready," Assistant Coach Michael Smith said, " Our team as a whole rebounded the ball very well and put pressure on them."
Sagemont ended the Lady Falcons [District Class 3A champions] season in which at one point endured a 13-game winning streak, but with two of their key starters out with injuries - Kyrah James, and Llana Baiamonte with torn ACL's- and missing power from the three-point game, Palmer Trinity found themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Palmer Trinity shot 12 for 48 from the basket and went 0-15 from behind the three-point arc without their leading scorers, still Hebb said injuries did not dictate the outcome of the game.
Sagemont 49, Palmer Trinity 26: SAG (18-8): Provenzano 9, Black 11, Rucker 4, Smith 3, Marshall 10, Jackson 5, Correa 6, Cole 1. PT (24-3): Gonzalez 6, Hebb 10, Parten 8, Quintero 2. Rebounds: Jackson 10, Provenzano 6, Marshall 6, Smith 5. Assists: Provenzano 5, Rucker 2. Steals: Correa 3, Provenzano 2, Cole 2, Smith 1, Marshall 1. Three-pointers: Smith 1, Black 1, Provenzano 1, Marshall 2.