For all the talk about coaching matchups on the state championship stage, it was that rare athlete who could perform under pressure which separated Broward’s winter sports state champions from the also rans.
Few opponents had an answer for St. Thomas Aquinas’ dynamic sisters tandem of Dallas and Isabella Dorosy, who helped the Raiders’ girls notch their 13th state title under Carlos Giron, a year after coming up short.
With each Dorosy sister scoring two goals apiece, the Raiders (20-3-2) routed Vero Beach 5-0 in the Class 5A state final to secure the No. 6 spot in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
“A lot of players saw how we lost last year and didn’t want that to happen again,’’ Giron said. “They knew the objective. We went out to a tournament in Texas and worked on some different things. It paid off at the end.”
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While the Dorosys shared the wealth, American Heritage’s Melanie Monteagudo was a one-girl wrecking crew for the Patriots (29-0-1), ranked No. 3 in the NSCAA poll.
Monteagudo tallied her 62nd and 63rd goals of the season to help the Patriots beat Merritt Island in the Class 3A final for their eighth state title overall.
In wrestling, Jamel Morris at 132 pounds was one of three individual state winners to carry Cardinal Gibbons to a fifth state title — the most in Broward history, under legendary coach Frank Pettineo.
American Heritage guard Keyshawn Evans returned to the spotlight after missing the 2012-13 postseason with an injury. Evans, the Class 5A state final four MVP, poured in a game-high 25 points to help the Patriots (28-7) find redemption after back-to-back state final four losses with a 98-70 rout of St. Petersburg Lakewood in the Class 5A championship game. The 98 points Heritage rolled up to earn its first state basketball title was a record in an FHSAA state championship game.
Meanwhile, Sagemont 6-4 star guard Prince Ali showed the explosiveness which made made him a priority recruit for UConn in helping the Lions (33-0) become the first Broward basketball team to finish the season undefeated.
Ali’s high-wire act led the Lions to the Class 3A state title, their second under Adam Ross, a school-best No. 4 rank in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national poll and subsequent berth in the DICK’S sporting goods National High School tournament.
“Winning the state title was a good feeling,” Ali said. “I worked hard on my game. It’s finally starting to show a little bit. I feel liked I have opened up some eyes but I still need to get better.”
After holding Duke prized recruit and McDonald’s All-American Grayson Allen to nine points in an upset of Providence in the semifinals, Ali, the 3A state final four MVP and All-State first-team selection, poured in a game-high 20 points to lead the Lions over Tampa Prep 79-48 in the Class 3A state title game.
The Coral Glades cheerleading team, behind Christie Kazanjian and Taylor Bilecki, led the Jaguars to the Class 2A small division — non tumbling state title.
Stranahan struck state gold in the 2A Large Division — nontumbling behind Aisha Coleman-Potts and Rachelle Rollins.