The Lady Patriots basketball team will bring home its second consecutive state title trophy after defeating the Bishop Kenny Crusaders 58-40 in the FHSAA Class 6A State Championship in Lakeland, Fla.
The team was firing on all cylinders to start the game, going on an 18-2 run right after tip-off. Senior power forward Paris Sharpe accounted for nine of the team’s 20 points in the first quarter, while the team limited the Crusaders to a mere six points in the period.
Despite the big lead, the Lady Patriots couldn’t fend off the Crusaders for good as the team went scoreless for six minutes in the quarter. However a buzzer-beater before the half from sophomore center Tatyana Wyche gave the Lady Patriots a 26-15 lead.
Sharpe took over in the second half, ending the game with 23 points on 11-15 shooting, helping her team outscore Kenny 21-8 the rest of the way. Sophomores Taliyah Wyche and Daniella Aronsky also chipped in with 11 and eight points respectively, to ice the game and secure the title.
Playing in her first state championship after transferring from Cardinal Gibbons, Sharpe didn’t let her nerves get the best of her. “I was a little nervous before I came out,” Sharpe said. “But when I stepped on this court, I was [like] ‘I’ve got to shut this down. We’ve got to win. I didn’t come here to lose. I didn’t come all the way up here to lose.’”
Having not won a state title before the last two seasons, head coach Greg Farias was especially proud of his team for its hard work. “It’s hard enough to get here, but to win it back-to-back means we are putting in the work and headed the right direction,” he said. “We have worked so hard and been through so much for us to stay together and get done this year was just amazing.”