Posted: 4:53 pm Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Girls Hoops: Inside the regional finals 

By Anthony Chiang

With six local girls basketball teams still alive in the FHSAA playoffs, we thought we would help break down each matchup.

Grandview Prep center Vionise Pierre-Louis (22) is averaging 22.9 points and 14.7 rebounds per game this season. (Photo by Richard Graulich)

Teams are just one win away from a trip to the state tournament in Lakeland.

Here are the matchups involving teams from the area:

Regional Finals

Class 8A
St. Petersburg (22-6) at Treasure Coast (19-6), Saturday at 7 p.m.

Scouting report: St. Petersburg has reached the regional final for the first time since 2010. Seniors Lazasha Baskins and Jordan Berenbaum are the keys to the Green Devils’ offense. Baskins leads the team with 11.1 points and Berenbaum is second with 10.3 points per game. Baskins is a threat from behind the three-point line, making a team-high 20 three-pointers this season. St. Petersburg has dropped two of its past five games. On the other side, Treasure Coast has won six of its past seven games on its way to its first regional final.

Edge: Treasure Coast has the edge. The Titans are the hotter team and they have played a tougher schedule, facing Grandview Prep, Boca Raton and Vero Beach (four times!). In those six games, Treasure Coast posted a 4-2 record.

Deerfield Beach (19-8) at Park Vista (23-4), Saturday at 7 p.m.

Scouting report: Bri’nesha Powell and Victoria Hadler are the duo that Park Vista must stop Saturday. The Deerfield Beach tandem has combined to score 26.4 points per game this season. Although the Bucks fell to Parkland-Douglas in the district championship game, they bounced back by beating Douglas in the regional semifinals on Tuesday. But Deerfield Beach will have its own test when it tries to limit Park Vista’s dynamic trio. Junior Jasmyne Martin (17.2 ppg), senior Emily Lochten (13.7 ppg), and sophomore Kiara Meeks (13.7 ppg) are the Cobras’ offense. They will play the entire game and they will challenge Deerfield Beach. Lochten takes care of the paint and Martin and Meeks do most of their damage from the perimeter. This marks Park Vista’s first appearance in the girls basketball regional finals.

Edge: Park Vista has the edge. Three (Martin, Lochten and Meeks) is better than two (Powell, Hadler).

Class 7A
Davie-Nova (25-3) at Palm Beach Lakes (24-1), Saturday at 7 p.m.

Scouting report: These two teams played in the regional finals last season and Nova won 56-53. But Palm Beach Lakes is very different this year, as it graduated eight seniors and returned just one starter from the 2013 team. Guard Kayla Thigpen, who transferred from Atlantic to Palm Beach Lakes in the offseason, is averaging a team-high 21.4 points to go along with 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season. The only blemish on the Rams’ record this season came against Grandview Prep, which is playing in the Class 2A regional finals. But Nova will not make it easy. In fact, the winner of this game could very well go on and claim the Class 7A state title. Since Dec. 13, the Titans have only lost once. Palm Beach Lakes will have to find a way to stop star Trellanie English-Lurry.

Edge: This might be the best matchup out of all of them. I’ll give a slight edge to Palm Beach Lakes. Until a team finds a way to stop Thigpen, who walks out of bed with 20 points, the Rams aren’t losing.

Class 6A
Miami Norland (16-9) at Boynton Beach (13-9), Saturday at 7 p.m.

Scouting report: Norland enters the game with a winning tradition — two state championships and four runner-up finishes in the past eight seasons. But this year’s team is young, as the roster features just three seniors. But those veterans have played a big part in Norland’s success this season. Seniors Kayla Roberts (13.7 ppg) and Danneal Ford (11.9 ppg) are the leaders of the team. Boynton Beach’s leader will not play in Saturday’s game. Shakoa Edwards, who committed to Southern Miss, had her senior season cut short after shoulder surgery. Instead, the Tigers have had to rely on players like Alexis Sparkman and Taija Johnson. It’s miraculous that Boynton Beach had even made it this far. Tigers coach Lisa Johnson deserves a lot of credit.

Edge: Norland has the edge. I can’t see Boynton Beach clinching a trip to Lakeland without its star player. The Tigers have come far, but the run ends Saturday.

Class 2A
Miami Beach-Hebrew Academy (15-3) at Grandview Prep (21-2), Friday at 1 p.m.

Scouting report: Grandview Prep has been the top team in Palm Beach County for most of the season. The Pride even handed Palm Beach Lakes its only loss. The Division I combo of guard Neydja Petithomme (Auburn) and center Vionise Pierre-Louis (Oklahoma) is a nightmare to deal with. Petithomme is averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 assists per game, and Pierre-Louis is averaging 22.9 points and 14.7 rebounds per game this season. I’m about to make an obvious point, but this duo is really, really hard to stop. There aren’t many teams that can match up with the 6-foot-4 Pierre-Louis. Hebrew Academy will be in trouble if Racheli Matis and Haley Dobin can’t put up big numbers on Friday. This marks Hebrew Academy’s first trip to the regional finals.

Edge: Grandview Prep has a big edge. The reasons — Neydja Petithomme and Vionise Pierre-Louis.

Sarasota Christian (21-7) at Berean Christian (16-11), Friday at 7 p.m.

Scouting report: Berean Christian enters this contest on a six-game winning streak. Alyssa Ashworth scored 22 points and added five assists in the Bulldogs’ victory in the regional semifinals. Meanwhile, junior guard Heidi Miller, sophomore guard McKenzie Lantz and Megan Garriott are the catalysts for Sarasota Christian’s success. The Blazers have won 10 of their past 11 games.

Edge: Sarasota Christian has the edge. The Blazers have been the more consistent team throughout the season.