TAMPA — Carrollwood Day School has come oh so close the past three years to winning a girls state basketball title … only to fall each time to national powerhouse Miami Country Day in the state semifinals or state final.
It’s a tough thing to not think about, even when you’re playing Thursday night in a Class 3A region quarterfinal against Tampa Prep, a team the Patriots were expected to beat without any doubt whatsoever.
“We are just staying focused on the next team we’re playing,” said junior forward Aryana Dizon, who has played in the past two final four losses to Country Day. “Tonight that was Tampa Prep.”
No worries, at least almost no worries, in a 74-36 victory over the Terrapins. In the first half, the Patriots (23-2) did not play their best, or as coach Karim Nohra said, “a little sloppy.”
That translated to a 37-21 halftime lead, which was a little surprising considering the Patriots jumped to a 16-0 lead to start the game.
“We didn’t run some things as well as we usually run them,” Nohra said. “But we did a much better job in the second half.”
They also did it without starting senior guard Maliyah Perry, who sat on the bench with a sprained ankle, and basically without senior forward Tiasia Mcmillan, who played sparingly with a sore ankle.
To the unknowing spectator, Carrollwood Day didn’t miss a beat. Dizon basically scored and rebounded at will, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Perry’s sister, sophomore Milahnie Perry, filled in at point guard, finishing with 15 points while confidently quarterbacking the Patriots’ offense.
Carrollwood Day senior Weeyah McGill finished with 16 points and guard Tarriyonna Gary added 13.
Tampa Prep ended its season with a 15-9 record, and guard Kailyn Gilbert finished her last game as a sophomore with a game-high 29 points.
Carrollwood Day moves on to play Tuesday against Brooks DeBartolo, which defeated Melbourne Central Catholic 57-39. Last week, CDS defeated Brooks DeBartolo 55-46 in the Class 3A, District 9 final.
“We expect a tough game against Brooks DeBartolo (next Tuesday),” Nohra said. “We look forward to it.”
Dizon said, “That’s all we’re thinking about: Our next game.”
Games at 7 p.m. Tuesday
7A: No. 4 North Port at No. 1 Plant
6A: No. 4 Strawberry Crest at No. 1 Winter Haven
6A: No. 3 St. Cloud at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech
5A: No. 4 Cape Coral at No. 1 Jefferson
4A: No. 4 Lakewood at No. 1 Cocoa
4A: No. 6 Eustis at No. 2 Wesley Chapel
3A: No. 5 Brooks DeBartolo at No. 1 Carrollwood Day
3A: No. 3 Benjamin at No. 2 Seffner Christian
2A: No. 5 Donahue Catholic at No. 1 Keswick Christian
2A: No. 3 First Baptist at No. 2 Hernando Christian