Posted: 4:05 pm Friday, February 15th, 2013
By Matt Porter
Dwyer, Palm Beach Lakes and Grandview Prep are one step away from Lakeland. Here’s what to expect from Saturday’s regional finals.
GIRLS BASKETBALL REGIONAL FINALS
all games 7 p.m. Saturday
Class 8A: Dwyer (22-4) at Pembroke Pines-Flanagan (22-3)
About Dwyer: With more size, talent and potential than anyone in Class 8A besides Orlando-Dr. Phillips, Dwyer expects nothing less than a run to the state finals, which would be a program first.
The Panthers, who rolled over their two regional opponents (Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens), have several future big-college players. None is bigger than 6-foot-5 post Kai James, one of three McDonald’s All-Americans from Florida. The Panthers also have 6-3 forward Sam Glodis (Georgia) and 6-0 junior point guard Keyanna Harris, the 46th-ranked player in the 2014 class.
Due in part to the number of lopsided wins they’ve had, the Panthers’ individual stats don’t jump off the page; Harris leads the team with 14.9 points per game, and hard-nosed, 5-9 senior Ayanna Holmes – not James or Glodis – is the team’s leading rebounder (11.3 per game; James has 10.5, Glodis, 9.3). Holmes and 5-9 senior Kiandra Bowers have plenty of opportunity to roam around on both ends with James, Glodis and Harris creating matchup problems. Dwyer’s rotation is eight or nine deep with strong, smart players.
Dwyer has been one of the most talented teams in Palm Beach County for several seasons, but doesn’t have an outstanding playoff resume. The Panthers have reached the playoffs every year since 2009, but were one-and-done in all seasons but 2012, when they reached the regional semifinals. Before that, the longest run in program history was 2005, when they made the regional finals in coach Jeryl Akins’ first year.
About Flanagan: If the Falcons get down early against Dwyer, don’t expect them to stay down. At halftime of Tuesday’s 58-46 regional semifinal win over Miramar, they were behind by double digits. Then, they went on a 9-0 run to start the second half, outscored Miramar 20-6 in the third period and closed the game on a 16-3 run.
Flanagan can press well and gets most of its offense from 5-7 junior guard Patricia Albano and 5-4 senior guard Laura Morencey. Senior forward Erin Cortes (5-9) is a strong rebounder. Junior Stephania Oramas (5-4) and her sister, freshman Jenniffer Oramas (5-3) are capable ball-handlers. Junior Naliah Hamilton (6-4) has size but hasn’t played big minutes.
The Falcons broke an 11-year playoff drought last season but was bounced in the first round. They earned a state final four appearance in 1998.
Class 7A: Davie-Nova (20-7) at Palm Beach Lakes (19-7)About Nova: “We’ve seen them quite a bit lately,” Lakes coach Cassandra Rahming said of Nova. That’s certainly accurate. Not only did the Titans end Lakes’ season in last year’s regional final (68-42) and in a 2011 regional quarterfinal (60-35), they beat the Rams in the preseason, on their home floor, by a point – 68-67 – in double overtime.
Nova held on for a 52-48 win over South Broward in Tuesday’s regional semifinal. The Titans were led by 5-7 sharpshooter Bernadette Devaney, who scored 18 points and hit four three-pointers. Devaney, a junior, has the ability to turn a small lead into double-digits with a couple looks. Lakes can’t give her much space.
Nova has been one of the state’s stronger programs of late, making the state finals in 2009, in coach Jason Hively’s first year, and state semifinals in 2012. Last year’s run ended at the hands of eventual state champion Sebastian River.
About Lakes: Senior guard Shanovia Dove is the primary reason Lakes has a shot at its first state final four in 10 years.
Dove (5-8), a Long Island signee, put up 21 points and 6.2 rebounds per game during the regular season. She scored 20 of her 26 points in the second half of Tuesday’s 77-70 semifinal win over Lake Worth. The Rams are heavy with seniors (eight), but have a future star in 6-foot sophomore Jackie Johnson, who averaged 11.7 rebounds per game and can hit from outside. Newby (26 threes), Dove (25), senior guard Kianna Rivera (15) can also make it from deep. Jermeisha Derrick (9.5 rebounds) is strong on the boards. They don’t have a lot of height, but the Rams play ferocious defense.
In 1988, Rahming was Palm Beach County’s leading scorer and led Twin Lakes High to the state semifinals, along the way becoming the first girl in county hoops history to score 2,000 points. The next year, Twin Lakes became Palm Beach Lakes, while Rahming began a four-year career at Iowa. She returned to Lakes in 1998-99. The Rams have eight regional final appearances in her 14 seasons and made the state final four in 2003. They haven’t missed the playoffs since 2004.
Class 2A: Naples-First Baptist (18-11) at Grandview Prep (24-2)
About First Baptist: The Lions’ 2012 season ended in this round last season, and to this opponent – 50-40 loss to Grandview. This year, 6-1 sophomore forward Emily Lines will try to stop that from happening. Lines, who is averaging 16.8 points per game, had 34 points and 14 rebounds in a 66-51 regional semifinal win over Sarasota Christian. Already a four-year starter, she reached the 1,000-point mark as a freshman.
First Baptist has had a varsity program for three seasons. Coach Jennifer Lines, Emily’s mother and a Northwood alum, brought the team to the 1A playoffs in 2010. The Lions earned a first-round playoff win in 2011 and made their first regional final last year.
About Grandview: Beating the Pride means stopping juniors Neydja Petithomme and Vionise Pierre-Louis.
Grandview’s outside/inside combo combined for 59 points in Tuesday’s 74-37 semifinal win over Boca Raton Christian. Petithomme, a 5-8 guard, averaged 22.8 points per game, 8.1 assists, 6.8 steals and made 21 threes during the regular season. Pierre-Louis, a 6-4 post, put up 21.9 points, 14.2 rebounds and 6.2 blocks. They were fourth and fifth in the area in scoring, respectively.
The Pride get contributions from senior forward Daisy Quellier and young guards Kaitlin Conrad (sophomore), Summer Burgess (freshman) and Jillian Duncan (7th grade).
After coach Gary Downing took over last year, Grandview made the state finals for the first time in program history, losing 49-47 to Hollywood Christian. Its previous playoff appearances were first-round exits in 2006 and ’07.