The Miami Country Day girls’ basketball team is one of the best in the nation at applying full-court pressure.
And as it has often done in recent years, the Spartans used it to overwhelm another talented opponent.
Led by senior forward Michelle Berry’s game-high 21 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, Miami Country Day routed visiting West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy 68-48 in the Region 4-3A final on Friday night.
The Spartans beat Oxbridge during the regular season on Dec.4 by only four points.
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On Friday, Country Day didn’t let it stay nearly as close after the first quarter.
“We had a great feeling since the beginning of the season that we could get this done, and it feels great to go back to state,” said Berry, a Cal-State Fullerton signee. “The first time we played Oxbridge, we were very sluggish. Players were falling asleep on the bus. We just weren’t ourselves that night. We had to keep the pressure on from the beginning tonight.”
The Spartans (28-2), ranked sixth in the nation by USA Today and the reigning Class 3A state champions, clinched their third consecutive trip to the state final four.
Miami Country Day will play Clearwater Calvary Christian (27-1) on Tuesday at either 2:30 or 4 p.m. in a Class 3A state semifinal at The Lakeland Center.
“I think with the talent we have the expectations have been so high that winning a state title is the only thing that wouldn’t be a disappointment for us,” Miami Country Day coach Ochiel Swaby said. “The kids are in the gym all the time and putting in the work, and that’s priceless.”
Berry’s contributions were huge in the absence of star senior forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo, who was not at the game for personal reasons.
While Berry played well both in the post and in transition, sophomore guard Channise Lewis triggered Country Day’s up-tempo game again and finished with 10 points and three steals. Kelsey Marshall had 15 points, Maria Alvarez had 10 points and three steals and junior Marsha Edwards had 10 rebounds.
Country Day also slowed down Oxbridge’s senior Crystal Primm, a Duke University signee, limiting her to 12 points.
“I want to finish my career with four rings and that’s what’s on my mind and to do it for our seniors,” Lewis said. “No team is ever unstoppable, but I think our defense is really solid and we believe in it.”
OA (22-7): Gray 15, Joseph 4, Steuerer 11, Primm 12, Halyard 6. MCD (28-2): Alvarez 10, McKenzie 2, Lewis 10, Austin 2, Edwards 5, Marshall 15, Berry 21, Pierre 3. Half: MCD 37-22. Fouled out: Gray. Three-pointers: Gray 2, Steuerer 2, Halyard, Alvarez 2, Pierre. Rebounds: Berry 13. Assists: Berry 4. Steals: McKenzie, Lewis, Alvarez 3.
▪ Region 4-4A final — Cardinal Newman 58, Pace 40: Outmatched in the paint, the charge for states for the Pace girls’ basketball team ended at its home gym in the loss to West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman.
Cardinal Newman wing Milan Morris torched the Spartans with her shooting, making four three-pointers to lead all scorers with 23 points, and Tytionia Adderly put up 13 points, 20 rebounds and four assists to pace the Crusaders.
“We just had no answer for [Adderly],” Pace coach Adam Hopkins said.
Pace (19-4) missed out on clinching its first state semifinal berth since 2005. Meanwhile, Cardinal Newman (26-3) advanced to the final four for the first time in its history.
“The girls set that as their goal,” Cardinal Newman coach Dennis Miles said. “Very first practice of the year they said they wanted to be the first Cardinal Newman girls’ team to win a regional championship. For them to go out and accomplish what they set as a goal is just very exciting.”
Pace was outrebounded 44-24 on Friday and gave up a series of uncontested layups down the stretch when a weak-side defender would have to help on penetration.
The game started getting away from the Spartans in the second quarter, when Cardinal Newman outscored Pace 16-4.
Kevona Gay finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Pace, while Destiny Wilson was held to single digits, finishing with nine points.
CN: Morris 23, Adderly 13, Deischer 14, Williams 6, Powery-Doxey 2. MP: Gay 20, Wilson 9, Jenkins 7, Maye 2, Rodriguez 2. Halftime: CN 27-16. Three-pointers: Wilson 2, Morris 4. Rebounds: Adderly 20. Assists: Adderly 4. Steals: Powery-Doxey 4. Blocks: Maye 4.
▪ Region 4-2A final — Boca Grandview Prep 77, Calusa Prep 45: Kristin Rampersad scored 27 points to lead host Grandview past Calusa Prep.
Rampersad, who transferred from Parkland Douglas with her sister Monica before the season, nailed four three-pointers and scored 23 points in the first half. One of her baskets was from 25 feet out. She rested for most of the second half with her team comfortably ahead.
“When I have the ball, if I have the shot I am going to take it. I feel like I can score from anywhere on the floor,” Rampersad said. “I just let it fly, and I expect it to go in.”
Calusa Prep coach Yesenia Tosado, in her first season at the school, said it was not what her team expected coming into the game.
“We have never played a team like this before. We will learn from this,” Tosado said. “We expected them to be a good team, but we did not expect this. This team was very good. The girls are hurting.”
The loss was the first of the season for the Colts (15-1), who fell just short of their goal to reach the state tournament.
“We have not won a championship since 1986, and I thought we had a chance,” said Tosado, who arrived from Puerto Rico before the season. “This is the worst feeling that I have had as a coach. The girls worked so hard to get here.”
Kathy Pinnock led the Colts with 15 points. Victoria Alexander added nine.
CP: Alexander 9, Miranda 6, Dunteman 7, Hernandez 4, Juvert 4, Pinnock 15; GV:Emmanuel 18, Burgess 2, Romer 2, Isaac 9, Rampersad 27, Shmueli 2, M. Rampersad 4, Randle 2, Anosier 4. Rebounds - Isaac 6; Three-pointers Rampersad 4, M. Rampersad, Romer, Isaac, Alexander, Pinnock 2. Halftime 38-19 GV.
▪ Monarch 17, Miramar 2: WP: Emily Estroff 5-0. LP: Lamb. Top performers: Emily Forbes 4-4, 3 RBI, 4 runs. Stefany Collins 3-3, 3 RBI. MON 6-0.
▪ Coral Gables 15, Coral Park 0: WP: Lauren Perna (1-1) 3 IP, hit, 5 K’s, 1-2, double, 2 RBI, 2 runs, SB. LP: Emily Garvin. Top performers: Ali Bonilla 2-2, 3 RBI, run, SB. Cat Ruggiano 1-1, 3 RBI, 2 runs, SB. CG 3-1.
▪ Hialeah Gardens 24, Miami High 3: WP: Kristy Viega/Ginger Morales. Top performers: Emily Torres 4-4, HR.
▪ Late Thursday— TERRA 5, Mater Academy 4: WP: Veronnica Sanchez (1-1) 5 K’s. Top Performers: Amanda Portal 3-4, 2 triples, 2 RBI, 2 runs. Emma Tabares 1-4, 2 RBI, run.
▪ Late Thursday — Coral Reef 7, Palmetto 6:WP: Michelle Mesa (3-0) K. Top Performers: Carsyn Gordon 2-5, 2 RBI. Denver Keller 1-4, RBI. Michelle Ryan 2-3, RBI. CR 3-0.
▪ Late Thursday — Coral Gables 11, Ferguson 10:WP: Chanel Wilson(2-0). Top Performers: Ashley Knapp 1-1, 4 BB, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 3 runs. Victoria Garcia 3-3, 2 RBI. Chanel Wilson 17 K's, 2-2, 3 BB, 2 SB, run. CG 2-1
▪ Homestead 11, Krop 1: WP: E. Zabal 3 IP, run, 2 hits, K. LP: Fosfer. Top performers: Mark Nichols 2-3, single, double, triple, 3 RBI. HOM 2-0.
▪ Pro Grounds Invitational Tournament — Hialeah 6, Westminster Christian 6: Top performers: Adrian Gomez (HIA) 2-4, double, RBI. Branden Perdomo (HIA) 1-2, SAC, RBI. Stephen Garcia (HIA) 1-3, run, RBI. WP: Tloonan, Brito. WC: Julian Infante 1-3, HR, 3 RBI. Jake Zarello 2-3, HR, 2 RBI. HIA 0-1-1. WC 2-0-1.
▪ Coral Reef 3, Archbishop Carroll 0: WP: John Stethopolus 6 IP. SV: Pedro Sanchez.
▪ Late Thursday — Palmer Trinity 5, LaSalle 4:WP: Kross. Top Performers: Walker 1-3, double, 2 RBI. Pico 1-2, 2 RBI.
▪ Late Thursday — Mater Lakes 2, Sagemont 1: LP: Adam Tulloch (1-1). SG: Michael Machin 2-3. Luis Tuero 1-3, BB, R, SB. Edison Rodriguez 1-2, 2B, RBI, HBP.
▪ Late Thursday — Cooper City 22, South Broward 0: WP: Joey Cutrone 4 K’s, 0 ER. Stevie DiPuglia 3-4, 3 RBI, 4 runs. Bobby Shanley 3-4, 3 RBI, 4 runs.
▪ Sagemont 5, University School 2: Chris Tasker (SG) 8-0. Luis Mariano (SG) 8-0. Andres Hernandez (SG) 8-2. Alp Yurttutan (US) 8-4. Matthew Luna (US) 8-1. Doubles: Tasker/Hernandez (SG) 8-0. Mariano/Fruitman (SG) 8-5.
▪ MAST 7, Braddock 0. MA 1-3.
▪ Late Thursday — TERRA 4, Miami Springs 3: Andrew Lazara 6-3, 6-3. Cory Harrington 8-6. Doubles: Lazara/Harrington 8-3.
▪ Late Thursday — Coral Springs Charter 7, Pompano 0: J. Crance 8-0. Nick Caicedo 8-0. S. Bloshinsky 8-1. G. Bloshinsky 8-1. A. Castellanos 8-1. Doubles: Crance/Bloshinsky 8-0. Caicedo/Bloshinsky 8-0.
▪ Sagemont 6, University School 1: Isabella Lowrey (SG) 8-2. Jamilah Sneils (SG) 8-0. Eleanor Ohayon (US) 9-7. Nina Hernandez (SG) 8-2. Alina Leontarakis (SG) 8-2. Doubles: Lowrey/Hynes (SG) 8-4. Sneils/Leontarakis (SG) 8-0.
▪ MAST 7, Braddock 0. MA 2-2
▪ Late Thursday — Coral Springs Charter 4, Pompano 3: T. Papakenellou (POM) 8-4. L. Edwards (CSC) 8-4. S. Buechler (POM) 8-3. J. Bloshinsky (CSC) 8-1. Doubles: Barbanes/Edwards (CSC) 8-1. Paperantz/Buechler (POM) 6-4.
▪ Late Thursday — Miami Springs 5, TERRA 2: Angela Moon 5-7, 6-3, (10-3). Ashley Varela 8-7. Erica Bradley 8-6. Doubles: Moon/Varela 8-4. Bradley/Perera 8-6.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 13, Cooper City 6: Ty Espada-Murtha 3 goals 2 assists. Matt Willson 4 goals, assist.
▪ Late Thursday — Coral Reef 7, Palmetto 3: Kristin Putz 5 goals. Isabella Teijelo goal. Cassidy Hidalgo goal. CR 2-0.
Region 4-8A final: Miami High at Ferguson, 7
Region 3-8A final: Boca Raton at Piper, 7
Region 4-7A final: Nova at Palm Beach Lakes, 7
Region 4-6A final: P. Charter at Norland, 7
Region 4-5A final: Rockledge at Dillard, 7