From the first jump ball to the final basket, the varsity girls basketball team brought the heat against Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) Miami Jan. 11. The 61-43 win increased their record to 15-4.
Going into the game, the girls were expected to win. “I think we are probably going to win by 20-25 points. The varsity girls are really, really good,” coach Charlie McClain, game spectator and the coach of the junior high boys basketball team, said.
Despite losing the initial jump ball, the game started out on a high note. After SLAM won the first possession, senior Mariah McKenzie stole the ball and ran it down for a layup, taking the lead. This momentum carried on throughout the game as the Patriots tossed in basket after basket. The girls were strategic in their offense and shots, setting picks, making cuts and swiftly passing the ball around.
“Our biggest strength right now is continuing our defense and playing hard; we have to outplay everybody. Our team is very balanced, so that means on any day anybody can score 24 [points], which is really good,” varsity head coach Greg Farias said. “Over the last couple years, we’ve had one or two [girls] that were superstars, but this year, anybody can score at any time.”
This team is young, which makes their winning record an impressive feat. The team only has three seniors, not to mention that the starting lineup includes three freshmen. Throughout the game, they proved that age was just a number and freshman Jasleen Green even led the team in points, dropping 19. She was closely followed by sophomore Dezuray McGill with 16 points and McKenzie with 15 points.
“Our goal is always to compete. We’ve had five [wins] in a row, so right now the expectations are set there. But I have a young team. I started three freshmen and I have three seniors, so we’re young, but with a mix of seniors. Our goal is always to get to the big guns,” Coach Farias said.
The girl’s win was a team effort, and everyone played their role – whether that be blocking passes on the defensive end or shooting three-pointers in the offensive. The game ended on a high note with senior Sydni Studesville making a steal for McKenzie to get in a last-second basket with under a minute left on the clock.
What’s next for the varsity girls? Tonight’s win helped them get ready for one of their toughest games of the season this Friday versus Dillard High School. The Patriots are currently ranked as third place in Broward County, with Dillard sitting in first – but not for long, because the Patriots are ready for a battle.