Dillard’s quest for five consecutive state championships came to an end as it lost 56-43 in its Class 5A regional final at Rockledge on Saturday.
“It was a great run this year with the players we had and the injuries we had and everything,” said Dillard head coach Marcia Pinder. “We were blessed.”
Rockledge opened the game on a 10-run and never trailed. Still, Dillard fought hard to come back in the first half and closed the gap to within three before the Raiders extended their advantage, taking a 29-18 lead into the second half.
Rockledge appeared poised to rout Dillard to start the third quarter, when it extended its lead to as much as 16, but the Panthers showed tremendous resilience as they attacked the hoop and swarmed Rockledge defensively to cut the lead to as little as two points with just over a minute to play.
But it wasn’t Dillard’s night. Rockledge’s Tajanee Chapple, who finished with a game-high 20 points, took over late, scoring seven points in the last 1:11 of the game to help seal Dillard’s fate.
“We just couldn’t finish,” Pinder said.
The Panthers finish the season 21-8, while Rockledge, which will face Choctawhatchee in the state semifinals, improves to 20-8.
“There’s excitement, said Rockledge head coach Reuben Williams on beating a team as storied as Dillard. “They won the four straight championships, but they lost a lot of players from last year’s team, so I knew going into this game we had a good chance to win.”
Broward’s impressive run of sending at least one girls' basketball team to the state final four ended..
Class 7A No. 1 Nova (25-4) gave up a four-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost 48-46 to host Palm Beach Lakes in 7A to spoil any plans to win an elusive state championship after losing in the state title game last year.
The inside play of Cobra forwards Emily Lochten (seven blocks, 11 rebounds) and Jasmyne Martin (15 points, seven rebounds), plus Kiara Meek's outside shooting (game-high 21 points) staggered the Bucks throughout.
Park Vista (24-4) will face Treasure Coast in next weekend's state semifinal round in Lakeland.
After Deerfield Beach took its only lead of the game at 6-4 on a Brinesha Powell jumper in the first, the Bucks were unable to get on track offensively.
The Bucks' man-to-man defense, sprinkled with the occasional full-court press, succeeded into forcing the Cobras into turnovers (11 in the first half). But Deerfield Beach missed at least four layups off the turnovers.
The Cobras’ Meeks, on the other hand, found her range from long distance, hitting three three-pointers, with at least two of them from 23 feet, to help Park Vista take a 26-18 halftime lead.
The Cobras then went on an 8-0 run to start the second half to lead 34-18. Meeks highlighted the spurt with a short jumper and a three-pointer.
The Bucks managed to close the gap to 41-34 with 2:37 remaining on a Powell steal and layup, but Park Vista connected on nine of 12 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Deerfield Beach coach Portia Williams declined to comment after the game.
CM 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 – 8
KW 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 5
DOU 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
FLA 1 1 0 0 0 0 X – 2
GIRLS’ TRACK AND FIELD
BOYS’ TRACK AND FIELD
Braddock vs. Dade Christian (DCS), 3:00
Archbishop Carroll vs. St. Brendan (STB), 3:30
American Heritage vs. Mater Lakes (Mater Lakes), 6:30
Ronald Reagan vs. American (Ame), 3:30
Champagnat vs. South Miami (SM), 3:30
Killian vs. Sunset (Sunset), 3:30
Doral Academy vs. Jackson (Jax), 3:30
Homestead vs. Mater Aca. (Mater), 3:30
Gulliver vs. Westminster Chr. (WCS), 3:30
Curley vs. Westwood Chr. (WCS), 3:30
HML vs. Westland Hialeah (WH), 3:30
Belen vs. Northwestern (NW), 3:30
North Miami Beach vs. Miami Central (Central), 3:30
Coral Reef vs. Miami Springs (MSP), 3:30
Varela vs. Southridge (SR), 6:30
Hialeah vs. Miami High (Curtis Park), 7:00
Ransom Everglades vs. Miami Country Day (MCD), 7:00
Columbus vs. South Dade (SD), 7:00
Monsignor Pace vs. LaSalle (LaSalle), 7:00