Melshree Reid’s buzzer-beater last season to beat Orlando Colonial in the state semifinals is still talked about around Miami High.
And who could forget a triple overtime win against Deerfield Beach in 2005 to win its lone state title?
When the Stingarees’ girls’ basketball team makes it to state, they usually leave lasting memories. Miami High is hoping to make more highlights this season.
“I think about that shot all the time, but I have to stop,” Reid said. “It’s a new season and it’s going to take more than a lucky shot to win a state championship.”
Reid’s heroics helped the then-underdog Stings finish last season as the Class 8A state runner-up.
This season, the Stingarees have higher expectations.
Returning nearly its entire starting lineup — most notably 6-4 junior center Beatrice Mompremier and a trio of talented guards — Miami High enters the season as the county’s favorite to return to Lakeland in Class 8A.
Mompremier is the county’s top recruit regardless of class with schools such as Connecticut, Georgia, LSU, Rutgers, UM, FSU and Florida already showing interest.
Along with fellow All-Dade first-team selection Amanda Mendoza, Reid and Terri Kimbrough back, the Stings are capable of navigating through a tougher region this season. “To me the pressure has sort of been the same as last season,” Mompremier said. “Everybody wants to win, of course, but it just comes down to how hard you work for it.”
Miami High relied on its defense in tough games last season, something coach Sam Baumgarten expects it to do more this year.
“Our strength is going to be our veterans who had the experience of playing at state,” Baumgarten said. “Our depth is probably our only concern, but we have great hopes for the future.”
Mendoza, an experienced guard in her fourth season, thinks the team will be more explosive on offense.
“We have more veterans this season with experience and a lot more players that can score,” Mendoza said. “That’s going to help us put the ball in the basket a lot more coming off what we do on defense.”
Miami High’s region includes several contenders such as Lourdes, South Miami, Ferguson and Pembroke Pines Flanagan — a regional finalist last season.
Other contenders• Miami Country Day, Miami-Dade’s other state runner-up last season, looks to have what it takes to finish the job this season in 3A.
The Spartans, who lost only two games all season, return most of its roster, led by senior guard Danielle Minott and freshman guard Channise Lewis, plus added a couple of talented players.
Minott, a Syracuse commitment, is one of the most-talented guards in the country and averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals per game last season. Lewis is one of the best in her class. They will be complemented by junior guards Stephanie Mackenzie and Lindsey Pierre. Where the Spartans most improved is in the frontcourt with 6-0 junior Ogechi Anyagaligbo, a Krop transfer, and 6-1 junior Michelle Berry, a La Salle transfer.• American figures to challenge Nova in Class 7A. The Patriots return a talented group that got stronger with the addition of Pace transfer Makayla McCloud.
• Norland lost some of its experienced players, but has enough talent to make another run to state in Class 6A led by guard Danneal Ford and forward Kayla Roberts.
• Gulliver may have enough to break through, after back-to-back seasons losing to Coral Springs Charter in the Class 4A regional finals.