Miami High has the name the recognition to command respect in basketball.
But after losing nine players overall that either graduated or transferred to other schools, some girls’ basketball teams around Miami-Dade County sensed vulnerability in the longtime powerhouse.
Early losses to cross-town rivals and a poor performance at the Junior Orange Bowl Classic in which Miami High lost all three of its games left the Stingarees doubting themselves.
“The girls on our team this year know all about our tradition and players like [former McDonald’s All-American] Beatrice Mompremier and [former Stings guard] Amanda Mendoza and others that achieved great things,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “But we had a point this season where things were rough, and they didn’t believe they were good enough.”
Baumgarten’s message to his young team once the new calendar year began was simple — make it a fresh start.
It looks like they listened.
The Stingarees (12-5), ranked No. 9 in Dade by the Miami Herald, have won four of their past five games including lopsided wins over Hialeah and Lourdes.
A squad led by sophomore Shakinah Rachel and three freshmen — Colleen Bucknor, Daria Whitley and Jenny Scott along with its lone senior Destiny Weldon has Miami High in contention starting Tuesday for what could be its fifth consecutive GMAC tournament championship.
Rachel is averaging 11.9 points and 13 rebounds per game, and Bucknor, a 5-11 power forward, is averaging 12 points and 12 rebounds per game. Guard Isabella Perez has provided a lift off the bench as has Lamartrice Wilson.
Baumgarten said his team’s freshman and sophomores have combined for 40 points on average of the Stingarees’ scoring output this season.
Miami High, however, enters the tournament as an underdog with rival Ferguson the favorite as the Falcons are coming off a trip to the state final four last year.
The Stingarees hope to earn more valuable experience from competing in the tournament that also includes Norland, Hialeah, Central, Southridge, Booker T. Washington and Westland Hialeah.
— Miami High’s opponent in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a game that will be played at Norland.
The host Vikings, ranked No. 10 in the county, will face Southridge in the following game at 7:30. Ferguson, ranked No. 6, will take on Booker T. at 6 p.m. in the other half of the bracket at Central with the host Rockets taking on Hialeah at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s quarterfinals – at Norland: Miami High vs. Westland Hialeah, 6; Central vs. Hialeah, 7:30; at Central: Ferguson vs. Booker T. Washington, 6; Hialeah vs. Central, 7:30; Wednesday’s semifinals at Miami High: Ferguson-Booker T. winner vs. Central-Hialeah winner, 6; Miami High-Westland winner vs. Norland-Southridge winner, 7:30; Friday’s championship at Ferguson: 7.
MORE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
▪ Pine Crest 43, American Heritage Delray 27: Valeria De Las Casas 15, Maria Ballesteros 11. Steals: De Las Casas 6. Rebounds: Hancock 10.
▪ Pace 64, Pines Charter 47.
Saturday - Edison 38, North Miami Beach 16
▪ Gulliver Prep 67, LaSalle 66: GP: Mashburn 24, LaMonica 12, Robinson 11, Sanders 9, Taylor 7, Perry 4 LA: Bernabeu 19, Gaetan 16, Szlaien 11, Salbalza 9, Fortuny 7, Pita 4 Threes: Mashburn 3, Salbalza 3, Gaetan 2, Bernabeu 1, Fortuny 1, Sanders 1, Taylor 1, Robinson 1 Assists: Robinson 4 Rebounds: LaMonica 10
▪ SLAM 71, Northwest Christian 54: SL: D. Garcia 24, J. Brooks 12, K. Poitier 11. NWC: T. Morisset 20, C. St. Jean 10. Three-pointers: O. Diaz 3. Assists: A. Hundley 5.
▪ Saturday - Respect Series - Miami Christian 82, Northeast 73 - MC (18-2): Camacho 26, Rosario 19, Haase 11, Alvarez 8, Diaz 6, Rivera 5, Hernandez 4, Machado 3. Rebounds: Haase 12. Assists: Camacho 8. Steals: Rosario 5. HT: MC 42-38.
▪ Friday - District 16-4A championship - TERRA 1, Doral 1 (TERRA wins 4-3 in PK): Karina Bermudez assist, scored 1 penalty kick, Sofia Aviles 1 goal,1 penalty kick, Madeline Dawson 10 saves, blocked a penalty kick; Isabelle Duran scored 1 penalty kick; Alyssa Herrera scored 1 penalty kick.
▪ District 13-5A Quarterfinals — South Plantation 3, Taravella 1: Gabe Sandoval goal. Jose Perez goal. Marquis Cole goal. TAR: Husani Wilburgh goal. SP 8-5-4.
▪ District 15-2A Quarterfinals — LaSalle 2, Somerset Academy 0: Andres Caceres goal. Marcus Cordon assist. David Medeiros goal. Felipe Baptista assist. Iker Sanchez shutout.
▪ District 14-1A Semifinals — Miami Country Day 4, Divine Savior 0: Dre Medici 2 goals. Khalil Winder goal. Arthur Caravellas goal.
▪ District 14-5A Quarterfinals — Everglades 1, Krop 0: Mateo Questa goal. Diego Loureiro assist. Julian Carrillo shutout.
▪ District 15-2A Quarterfinals — Ransom Everglades 2, Mater Lakes 1: Aidan Godoy goal. Michael Colonna goal. Alex Stuart assist. RE 13-4-3
▪ Monarch 2, Spanish River 1 (OT): SR: Sam Pereira goal. MON (14-3-4): Pietro Nicolau goal. Rodrigo Dasilva goal. Davi Da Cruz 2 assists.
▪ Regional Meet — Silver: Kayla Jensen (150 BP, 145 CJ).
District 13-5A semifinals at Western: South Plantation vs. Cypress Bay, 5; Western-West Broward winner vs. Coral Glades, 7
District 14-5A semifinals at Flanagan: North Miami vs. Flanagan-American winner, 4; Cooper City vs. Everglades , 6
District 16-5A semifinals at Tropical Park: Ferguson vs. Coral Reef, 2; Varela vs. Killian, 4
District 15-4A opening round at Nova: Archbishop McCarthy vs. Hollywood Hills, 6
District 16-4A quarterfinals at Belen: TERRA vs. Mater Academy, 2; Belen Jesuit vs. Westland Hialeah, 4
District 15-3A semifinals at American Heritage: Pines Charter vs. Hallandale, 5; Pompano Beach vs. American Heritage, 7
District 14-2A semifinals at Cardinal Gibbons: Coral Springs Charter-Boca St. Andrews winner vs. NSU University School, 5; Pine Crest-North Broward Prep winner vs. Cardinal Gibbons, 7
District 16-2A quarterfinals: Pinecrest Prep at Gulliver, 4; St. Brendan at Westminster Christian, 4; Coral Shores at Key West, 4; Everglades Prep at Keys Gate, 4
District 12-1A semifinals at Highlands Christian: Donna Klein vs. Highlands Christian, 5; Coral Springs Christian-Boca St. John Paul II winner vs. Boca Raton Christian, 7
District 15-1A semifinals at Kendall Soccer Park: SLAM vs. International Studies Charter, 2; Archimedean vs. Westwood Christian, 4:30
District 16-1A opening round at Palmer Trinity: Archbishop Carroll vs. Marathon, 3:30
Southwest at Columbus (Outdoor match), 7
Last week’s best Miami-Dade performances
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The Edison boys’ soccer team won its first GMAC championship, sealing the triumph with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win over previously unbeaten Miami Beach. Wold Damintas scored twice in the final including the winner in overtime to lead the Red Raiders.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Eddie Camacho, Miami Christian, boys’ basketball: Camacho had 26 points and eight assists to lead the Victors to an 82-73 win over Northeast at the RMF Respect Series.
Coleen Bucknor, Miami High, girls’ basketball: Bucknor, a freshman, scored 28 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and had eight assists and three blocks in wins over Lourdes Academy and Hialeah.
Owen Green, Doral Academy, boys’ soccer: Green scored the lone goal in the Firebirds’ 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Gulliver.
Alexis and Michelle Diaz-Silveira, Carrollton, girls’ soccer: The Diaz-Silveira’s combined to score six of Carrollton’s 11 goals and combined for five assists to lead the Cyclones to their first soccer district championship and first team district title for the school since 2004.
Andre C. Fernandez
Last week’s best Broward performances
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Michael Lopouchanski (182 pounds) and Chris Williams (220 pounds), both 25-0, led six Chiefs individual winners as the Cardinal Gibbons wrestling team won the BCAA team title.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Malik Hardy, Pines Charter, boys’ basketball: Hardy scored a game-high 35 points to lead the Jaguars over Miramar 79-76 in overtime.
Rachel Tuffy, St. Thomas Aquinas, girls’ soccer: Tuffy scored to lead the Raiders (17-1-2) over Archbishop McCarthy 1-0 for the District 15-4A title.
Tyler Kipilman, Nova, boys’ soccer: Kipilman had two goals to lead the Titans (7-6-6) over Miramar 4-1.
Sarah Morris, South Florida HEAT, girls’ soccer: Morris’ goal held up as the HEAT (14-5-2) defeated Westminster Academy 1-0 for the District 13-1A title.
Isabella Lopez, Northeast, girls’ basketball: Lopez had a team-high 22 points to lead the Hurricanes (9-6) over Dillard 61-59.
Kat Williams, Douglas, girls’ basketball: Williams had 10 points 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots to lead the Eagles over rival Coral Springs 50-27.
Derreisha Cobbs, Sheridan Hills, girls’ basketball: Cobbs scored a game-high 36 points to lead the Sharks (10-5) over North Broward prep 63-43.
Ignacio Fuertes, Cypress Bay, wrestling: Fuertes defeated St. Thomas Aquinas’ Gianni Guereriero 4-3 for the BCAA 132-pound weight class title.
Noah Brown, McArthur, boys’ basketball: Brown had a team-high 13points to lead the Mustangs to lead a 63-54 upset of Cardinal Newman at the Respect Series 3 presented by RMF Magazine and FloridaProspects.com Tournament.
Tyler Kipilman, Nova, boys’ soccer: Kipilman had two goals to lead the Titans over Miramar 4-1.
THE MIAMI HERALD’S SOUTH FLORIDA TOP 10
1. Miami Christian (18-2)
2. Dillard (18-4)
3. West. Academy (22-3)
4. Blanche Ely (18-5)
5. Calvary Christian (15-3)
6. Mater Academy (15-2)
7. South Miami (19-3)
8. Arch. Carroll (19-2)
9. Norland (16-4)
10. Sagemont (14-6)
Under consideration: Deerfield Beach (15-6), Miami High (13-2), Doral Academy (17-3), Coral Springs (15-6), McArthur (12-11), NSU University School (13-6), Palmetto (13-7), Piper (17-3).
1. Country Day (22-1)
2. South Broward (21-3)
3. Am. Heritage (20-2)
4. Nova (17-4)
5. Douglas (24-1)
6. Ferguson (14-7)
7. Fort Lauderdale (18-2)
8. Gulliver (16-8)
9. Miami High (12-5)
10. Norland (15-6)
Under consideration: Hialeah (16-6), Lourdes (12-6), Archbishop McCarthy (14-7), Flanagan (18-3), Boyd Anderson (16-7), Cardinal Gibbons (15-5), Central (15-4), Northeast (9-6).