The varsity girls basketball team, after moving past the Seminoles in the state semifinals, clashed with the second-seeded Pine Forest Eagles Saturday, Feb. 29 with their eyes on adding another state trophy to the team’s hardware collection.
The first quarter of the championship game saw the Lady Patriots jump out to a 14-7 lead, which they would extend to 26-12 by the end of the half after continuing to set up junior forwards Taliyah and Tatyana Wyche inside the paint. The bigs closed the second quarter with 14 points and 12 points, respectively, which accounted for all of the team’s first half points.
“We played really well as a team,” junior guard Daniella Aronsky said, “and fed the beasts inside because the [Wyche] twins had a mismatch.”
The second half followed suit for the Patriots, as they continued to dominate down low and hold a 40-21 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, where they would close out the win 51-33.
“We went back to playing American Heritage defense and the inside game,” Coach Greg Farias said following the victory, “the [two] biggest components.”
By the time the buzzer sounded, the Wyche twins had accounted for 47 of the team’s 51 points, with Taliyah posting a double-double and finishing with 31 points and 16 boards.
“The biggest factor in getting the win today was the guards handling all of the pressure to be able to get me and my sister [Tatyana] the ball,” Taliyah said of the win.
Tatyana, who secured her own double-double and finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, also noted the importance of the entire team effort in order to push the team towards the title.
“The biggest factor [for the game] was the chemistry on the team,” Tatyana said. “We are all sisters, and we all came together to win.”
The victory closes the team’s season with a record of 25-4 and a third state title in as many years.
“[My] overall thoughts for this season are that it was [about] putting in the hard work to show that we are true contenders in spite of those who wanted us to fail,” Coach Farias said. “[We are] looking forward to building on this legacy and developing the younger players who have big shoes to fill.”