BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Father Lopez won the Class 3A state championship with a 44-40 victory over Miami Country Day at the Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland on Feb. 21.
“We worked hard all year and we had a tough schedule. We played three state champions and seven Final Four teams this season. We had a senior-led group which really came together in the clutch,” said Brad Ridenour, Father Lopez’s coach.
Lopez (27-5) won its second title in the sport. The team won the Class 2A title back in 2005.
“I got here as a coach early in my career. To get back and win again is great. It was satisfying this group of girls come and pull through. We came together in some clutch situations,” responded Ridenour.
Folsom named MVP
Ashley Folsom scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to earn MVP honors for the Green Wave.
“Ashley came to us a few years back and was really a raw talent. She had a great year and has grown as a player. It showed in the playoffs and championship game with her earning MVP,” said Ridenour.
Simone Brown also had a big game for Lopez with 17 points.
The Green Wave took their first lead of the game at 36-34 with 2:54 play on a lay up by Brown on a pass from Folsom.
“Simone made shots and scored for us when we needed. The last five minutes of the game she was incredible,” added Ridenour.
Lopez converted s converted 8-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes and 15-for-17 in the game.
Country Day’s Danielle Minott led all scorers with 20 points. The Spartans (28-2) had 18 steals and forced 21 turnovers in the contest.
Chanel Coco added 11 rebounds and Shannon Crenshaw seven points with five assists for Lopez.
Lopez took down Clearwater Christian Academy 50-41 in the semifinals two days earlier. Brown had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Crenshaw 14 points and Folsom 13 points with 13 boards for the ‘Wave.
Atlantic falls in Final Four
Atlantic had its hopes of a state title come to an end with a 53-50 loss to Coral Springs Charter in the Class 4A semifinals on Feb. 19.
“We had a tremendous season. It was a blessing to get here. We worked hard. We didn’t get the title, but we are very proud of the girls,” responded George Butts, Atlantic’s coach.
The Sharks led by seven with four minutes to play but couldn’t muster much offense after that.
“We were where we wanted to be but didn’t execute. We got away from our game plan. We were in the bonus and didn’t want to score unless fouled. We also took some bad three point shots,” said Butts.
Atlantic’s Ronni Williams, who is the state’s top-rated player, led all scorers with 29 points and 18 rebounds. Destiny Woodard had 10 points for the Sharks.
Emily Williams had 24 points and Morgan Smillie 11 for Coral Springs Charter.
Coral Springs Charter lost to Jacksonville Ribault 65-47 in the state championship game two days later.
Boys playoffs recap: Lopez falls in Regional
Father Lopez fell to Jacksonville Providence 70-52 in the Region 1-3A Final this past week. Providence made 10 three pointers in the game. The Stallions won the Class 2A title back in 2010. Mailik Maitland had 20 points, Cameron Breehl 14 and AJ Ford 12 for the Green Wave.
A stifling defense helped Lopez cruise by Gainesville St. Francis 75-39 in the Class 2A Regional semifinal. The Green Wave forced 19 turnovers. Ford tallied 18 points and Maitland 14 for Lopez.
Smyrna, DeLand ousted in second round
Orlando Evans edged New Smyrna Beach 46-45 in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs. Roger Carlin had 16 points and Dez Mitchell 15 for New Smyrna.
Monolito Hamilton posted 24 points for DeLand in a 66-52 loss to Oviedo Hagarty in the 8A Regional semi-finals. The Bulldogs were hurt by 18 turnovers.
Prep Sports Seven Basketball
Final Girls: 1. *Father Lopez (26-5), 2. *Atlantic (23-7), 3. *DeLand (26-4), 4. Flagler Palm Coast (18-7), 5. *Trinity (20-8), 6. *Seabreeze (13-13), tie 7.*New Smyrna (8-17), Warner (8-9).
Final Boys: 1. *Father Lopez (27-3), 2. *DeLand (22-8), 3. *New Smyrna (22-5), 4. *Calvary (18-9), 5. *Deltona (12-15), 6. Mainland (15-11), 7. Halifax (12-11).
1. New Smyrna (4-0), 2. Spruce Creek (4-2), 3. Trinity (3-2), 4. Seabreeze (3-2), 5. University (4-2), 6. DeLand (2-3), tie 7. Taylor (4-1), Mainland (3-2).