Miami High entered its girls’ basketball regional final Saturday as the top-ranked team in the state and ranked No. 23 nationally by USA Today.
The Stingarees are no longer just about their talented 6-4 junior center Beatrice Mompremier and speedy senior guard Amanda Mendoza.
Miami High showed off its depth and ability to dominate a game in different ways cruising to a 69-45 win over Ferguson at home in the Region 4-8A final to clinch a second consecutive trip to the state final four.
The Stingarees (29-1) will play Sanford Seminole at The Lakeland Center at 8:30 p.m. Friday as they begin their bid to win the school’s second state title in the sport.
“We have so many scorers now that they can’t just take me and Beatrice away,” Mendoza said. “I just wanted to have fun playing my last game [in this gym].”
Thanks to a balanced effort led by Mompremier’s 15 points and 10 rebounds and Mendoza’s 13 points and five assists, Miami had all five starters score at least nine points as it led by as many as 33 in the second half.
Miami High scored the game’s first 14 points before Ferguson senior guard Tabitha Gonzalez made her first of six three-point shots.
Gonzalez finished with a game-high 23 points and helped the Falcons (22-7), who were playing in their first regional final, cut the deficit to 20-15 at the end of the first quarter.
But led by sharp shooting from Terri Kimbrough (nine points), Melsheree Reid’s accuracy and defense (11 points, five steals) and Antranae Alvin’s gritty play inside (11 points, five assists), Miami High outscored Ferguson 21-4 in the second quarter to put the game away.
“We wanted to hit them hard and early,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “Ferguson knows us very well so we went with our 1-2-2 pressure and it threw them off.
“Our kids’ momentum kind of died after that hot start, but we started hitting shots in the second quarter. Everybody thinks our team is Amanda and Beatrice. But we have Terri hitting threes, Reid, Alvin playing well. We have a lot of talented kids that have made this a complete team.”
The Stingarees’ remaining task is to secure the state championship trophy that eluded them last season in a loss to Orlando Dr. Phillips in the Class 8A final. Dr. Phillips and Orlando Colonial have already been eliminated, making Miami High an even bigger favorite in its bracket.
“We wanted this game all year and we were fired up,” Mendoza said. “We just wanted to come out with momentum and put them to sleep early and not let them come back. We just need to stay focused this week and bring it home.”
“We have worked so hard,” an emotional Roberts said. “We have put everything into this.”
Norland (17-9) will play Pensacola Pine Forest in a Class 6A semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday at The Lakeland Center.
Roberts led the Vikings with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“She has been our leader offensively all year,” Norland coach Carla Harris-Curry said. “She played very well for us.”
Boynton Beach (13-10) cut a 26-16 halftime deficit to 30-23 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter with a 7-4 run, which was capped on a jumper off the glass by Antysza Hankerson.
“We had to say calm and play our game,” Roberts said.
That was when Roberts took over as she scored four points in a row to give the Vikings a 34-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We had to go back to the game plan,” Harris-Curry said. “The game plan was to pound the ball on the inside and then come out.”
The 4-0 run extended into the fourth quarter as the Vikings capped an 8-2 run on a layup by Janet Harrison to provide a 38-25 lead.
The Vikings’ size advantage wore down the Tigers in the fourth, as Boynton Beach was held to several one-shot possessions and turned it over often because of pressure defense.
If it wasn’t Roberts collecting rebounds, forwards Harrison, Tyana Williams and guard Danneal Ford crashed the boards for Norland. Ford scored 12 points and Williams added nine points and five rebounds.
Norland closed out the game with a 20-6 run.
“We’ve got to go redeem ourselves,” Roberts said. “We’ve got to get this ring.”
HIA 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 – 2
CO 1 3 2 0 1 1 X – 8
CR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
CO 0 1 0 0 0 0 X – 1
SR 4 0 3 0 2 3 – 12
FR 0 0 0 1 0 0 – 1
KC 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 – 3
PT 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 – 3
SM 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 – 2
SD 1 0 1 3 0 2 6 – 7
Braddock vs. Dade Christian (DCS), 3:00
Archbishop Carroll vs. St. Brendan (STB), 3:30
American Her. vs. Mater Lakes, 6:30
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
HMLvs. Westland Hialeah, 3:30
Jesuit vs. Northwestern (NW), 3:30
North Miami Beach vs. 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 Ev. vs. Miami C.D. (MCD), 7:00
Columbus vs. South Dade (SD), 7:00
Monsignor Pace vs. LaSalle (LaSalle), 7:00
Ronald Reagan vs. American (Ame), 2:00
Southridge vs. Killian, 2:00
Krop vs. Jackson, 2:30
Central vs. Mourning (Mourning), 3:30
North Miami Beach vs. North Miami, 3:00
Northwestern vs. Miami Springs (MS), 3:00
Hebrew Aca. vs. Doctors Charter (DC), 3:30
McCarthy vs. Pace (Monsignor Pace), 3:30
Westland Hialeah vs. Mourning, 3:00
Coral Park vs. South Miami (SM), 3:30
Krop vs. Miami Beach (Flamingo), 3:30
Miami High vs. Hialeah (Milander), 3:30
Coral Gables vs. TERRA, 3:30
Jackson vs. North Mia. (Pepper Park), 3:30
Killian vs. Sunset (Sunset), 4:00
SLAM vs. Somerset (Homestead), 4:00
Southwest vs. Braddock (Braddock), 4:00
Varela vs. Southridge (SR), 4:00
Marathon vs. St. Brendan (STB), 4:00
Keys Gate vs. Curley (CUR), 4:00
Coral Shores vs. Carroll (Carroll), 4:00
Ferguson vs. Lourdes (LOU), 4:00
Carroll vs. Westminster Chr., 7:00
Coral Reef vs. Palmetto (Palm.), 7:00
Goleman vs. South Dade (SD), 7:00