Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Region girls basketball: Carrollwood Day 51, Orlando Christian Prep 43

TAMPA — Four minutes and 27 seconds into the most important game in Carrollwood Day history, Karim Nohra had seen enough.

With his Patriots trailing Orlando Christian Prep in Tuesday's Class 3A region final, and all out of sorts, the frustrated first-year coach demanded a 30-second timeout.

As his team circled around him, Nohra turned as crimson as his button-down dress shirt. He stomped his left foot, then the right as what remained of his voice turned to a shriek.

"Just chill out — relax," Nohra told them. "I know you missed some layups and some good passes inside. But just chill out. Just play the game."

It was all the reassurance CDS needed.

Despite losing captain CC Mays to a head injury minutes later and dealing with four starters in serious foul trouble late, the Patriots — built of five freshmen, three sophomores and a seventh-and eighth-grader — pulled away on a 24-2 run, then held on late for a 51-43 victory.

CDS (27-2), which had never even experienced a winning season prior to Nohra's arrival from Academy at the Lakes last summer, is heading to Lakeland for the state semifinals.

"It's sweet, especially since they've never done this in the history of the school," said Nohra, who took AATL to the final four in five of his six years at the helm before departing for CDS.

"It's extremely gratifying. I thought I had hit nirvana at AATL, but this is just as good — if not better."

Before the celebration could commence, however, CDS was locked in a battle. OCP (23-8) led for the first six minutes of the opening quarter until a free throw by freshman Jackie Laihinen (nine points) put the Patriots ahead for good and sparked the game-defining surge.

Still, the Warriors didn't go quietly. They stretched an 11-0 run of their own into the second half and followed up with a 9-0 scamper to close the third quarter. By the five-minute mark of the fourth, CDS' advantage was down to three and slipping fast.

But the Patriots never folded. Helped by solid free-throw shooting late, they rebuilt their lead and never let go.

"We just kept our heads in it and stayed in it," said freshman Jaden Harris, who finished with seven points. "We just listened to our coach and whatever he says to us, we know we can trust him to put us where we need to be."

With 7.7 seconds left, Nohra motioned for one final stoppage. Only this time, he smiled as his players took their seats and clapped in unison. When the buzzer sounded soon after, Nohra pumped his fists and hollered with joy while the packed gymnasium roared with chants of his last name.

Then, one by one, the Patriots cut down the nets. An exhausted Nohra stood inside the team weight room and wrote four bullet points detailing the game on a long white board. The final one was a personal message to his team: "Pressure busts a tire, but also makes a diamond. You are diamonds today!"

"It's just an amazing, amazing journey they've given me through this year," Nohra said.

"Tonight, they were really diamonds out there. All of them. Every single one of them. They were real diamonds on the floor."

Region girls basketball: Carrollwood Day 51, Orlando Christian Prep 43 02/14/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.