TAMPA — The fans cheered and cheered Tuesday night at Bayshore Christian: “All the way to state! All the way to state!”
Bayshore Christian’s girls basketball team is back in the Class 2A state Final Four for the first time since 1996, a feat sealed with a 57-36 victory over visiting Hernando Christian.
But the historic victory wasn’t quite as easy as the score indicates. At halftime, Hernando Christian led the Faith Warriors 26-25.
“Then I gave them a pretty fiery speech at halftime,” Bayshore Christian coach Shekina Denny said. “I told them we had to stop fouling so much (Hernando Christian made 9 of 11 foul shots in the first half), and we had to just play our game and everything would be all right.”
Bayshore Christian (25-1) outscored Hernando Christian (22-4) 13-3 in the third quarter and never let Hernando within 11 points the rest of the way.
For Bayshore Christian senior Alexandrya Myers, who has been a six-year Faith Warriors starter, it was a victory that was a long, long time in coming and much appreciated.
“We kept believing that hard work and dedication would pay off,” Myers said. “It feels good that we finally got to (state), but we are still not satisfied. We want that (championship) ring. We believe we can get it.”
On Tuesday, Faith Warriors guard Fabiana Limongi led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Myers (12), freshman Tinnea Johnson (nine) and Ari Royal (seven).
Bayshore will play in a Class 2A state semifinal on Monday at 2 p.m. against against Miami Christian, which defeated Grandview Prep 52-51 to advance.