Jaguar Holiday Tournament: Plant, Carrollwood Day set for final
TAMPA — The table is set for an interesting final at Thursday’s Jaguar Holiday Tournament: Class 8A Plant vs. Class 3A Carrollwood Day School.
Big school (Plant) vs. little school (CDS).
Older team (Plant) vs. younger squad (CDS).
Sounds like Plant, which is loaded with talented seniors, is the heavy favorite over CDS, which features one sophomore, seven freshmen and two seventh graders on its entire roster.
Not so fast.
Yes, Plant is 13-1 and in Wednesday’s semifinal the Panthers manhandled previously undefeated Clearwater 61-36, but CDS is also 12-1 and in Wednesday’s semifinal the Patriots dismantled Class 8A Wharton 62-28.
Then there is this: In a preseason game Plant defeated CDS, but the game was tight before ending 45-37.
“We can’t wait for (for Thursday’s final),” Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. “We like the challenge.”
On Wednesday, Mahon said she was pleased with her team’s effort against Clearwater (9-1), but she also saw room for improvement.
“I thought we turned the ball over too much and made some poor passes and had some mental mistakes,” Mahon said. “Believe me I’m ecstatic with a 25-point victory, but I still thought there were some things we could have done better.”
Defensively, Mahon found little wrong, from the Panthers’ press to its relentless man-to-man, which held Clearwater well below its 68.8 points a game average.
Overall, Panther Payton Paro led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds, followed by Isabella Moreno (12 points, seven rebounds), Sydney Johnson (10 points), Kim Shaw (eight points, eight rebounds) and Alexys Mathangani (seven blocks, six rebounds, six points).
In the Carrollwood Day victory on Wednesday, freshmen Tarriyonna Gary and Nabaweeyah McGill had 16 points apiece and freshman Tiasia McMillan added 10.
As for the rematch with Plant, CDS coach Karim Nohra says he is also looking forward to it, but he concedes that Plant has the advantage in strength and maturity.
“If we show up ready to play it could be interesting,” Nohra said. “Hopefully we’ll put on a good show.”