The girls’ basketball regional playoffs begin Thursday and will once again be replete with story lines as teams vie for spots in this year’s state tournament in Lakeland.
For Booker T. Washington, it will be a whole new experience and a reward for one of the most drastic turnarounds by any team in the state this season.
“This is the first playoff game they’ve ever had here [at Booker T.],” said second-year coach Travis Hall. “Our main goal was to come out and have a winning season and build from that.”
The Tornadoes have done more than that.
Last week, they won their first district championship beating La Salle in the District 15-4A final.
Their first regional playoff game in school history comes Thursday at 7 p.m. in a Region 4-4A quarterfinal against Florida Christian.
And it’s a year after the Tornadoes went 2-17.
The Tornadoes’ 19 wins are more than what the program won in the past seven seasons combined.
Hall said the difference was convincing some of the school’s multi-sport players to commit to playing basketball and an influx of talented freshmen.
“The girls started committing themselves to the sport,” Hall said. “A few of them played a few other sports, but they chose to start something here and be a part of something special.”
Among the standouts are junior guard Rosa Bello, who leads the team in scoring with 23 points per game, and sophomore guard Mia Leite, who is averaging 17.2 points. Junior guard Jada Miller and freshmen forwards Latronice Durant and Paulette Burke round out a starting lineup that is expected to return in its entirety next season.
With it, Booker T. has scored victories over several longtime rivals including Jackson and Carol City.
The following Miami Beach football players earned Class 8A-6A honorable mention: Ty McCall, Brent Baker, Adler Revolus, Mark Velez.
Miami Columbus linebacker Nick MeBeath announced he will sign with Holy Cross, and Miramar quarterback Nick Jeanty will head to New Mexico State
The Dade Christian boys’ basketball team defeated Archbishop Curley 57-41 on Monday afternoon.
Crusaders’ Malik Morrow registered a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Michael White scored 15 points and Desmond Snow had 14 points and nine assists.
The Crusaders head on over to Miami Country Day for the District 15-3A semifinals Wednesday at 7 p.m.
•District 16-7A Semifinals-American 56, North Miami Beach 48: AME:
Johnson 10, Spicer 21, Tavernier 4, Grant 8, Liz 8, Escobar 14.NMB:
Lariose 12, Mesinor 9, Predesca 3, Alexis 6, Jeantinor 12, Leger 6. Haltime 27-27. Three-pointers: Lariose 2, Leger, Johnson, Grant. Rebounds: Spicer 13. Assists: Escobar 6. Blocks: Liz 5
• South Dade 258.0, Southridge 170.5, Palmetto 143.0, Coral Reef 83.0, Ferguson 61.0, Killian 46.5, Varela 44.0, Sunset 14.0. 106: Ozzy Lugo (SD), 113: Jordan Marshall (SR), 120: Maleek Williams (SD), 126: Alex Edwards (SR), 132: Justin Ramirez (SD), 138: Patricio Lugo (SD), 145: Isaiah Crosby (SD), 152: Anthony Cooper (SD), 160: Alberto Pedraza (SD), 170: Ripoll O’Connor (SD), 182: Chei Hill (SD), 195: Nathaniel Bland (SD), 220: Demond Richardson (SD), 285: Sterling Shippy (CR).
•Champagnat Catholic 10 , North Miami Beach 0:
CC 6 2 1 1 - 10 7 0. NMB 0 0 0 0 - 0 3 2. WP: Bryan Vietres (1-0). LP: (Manuel). Top performers: Guillermo Fonseca 1-3 HR 3RBI, Jan Paul Arnaud 1-2 2B BB, Vietres 4IP 4K 0ERA . Champagnat Catholic 1-0.