TAMPA — In the locker room following Carrollwood Day’s Class 3A region semifinal with district rival Brooks DeBartolo, Patriots coach Karim Nohra wrote a message on the white board before he spoke any words to his team:
“You made this harder than it needed to be, but a W is still a W.”
Much like in its district championship game against the Phoenix 10 days prior, Carrollwood Day took an early lead, but unforced turnovers gave Brooks DeBartolo the chance to close the gap late.
The Patriots, though, sourced their points from all over the roster, and in the end, it was just enough to win 60-53.
“Our priority is just the open man. We have to play as a team, whoever has the ball. Luckily I got open tonight, so I was able to score,” said center Weeyah McGill, who finished the night with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"Our team shirt (says) 'too many weapons,' because everyone on the team is a threat."
Carrollwood Day (24-2) started strong, jumping to a 7-0 lead and keeping Brooks DeBartolo off the board for the first four minutes. The Phoenix didn’t score their first field goal for another two minutes after that.
Carrollwood Day had a 15-point lead in the second quarter and a 16-point lead in the third after a big basket from McGill. But from there, Brooks DeBartolo started depending on 3-pointers to get back in the game. Six times in the second half, they went in.
Brooks DeBartolo (20-6) had six of its eight 3-pointers after the break, including three from Brionna McClinton, and the Phoenix clawed their way back in the game. Meanwhile, as the Patriots expected, the Brooks DeBartolo defense keyed on Carrollwood Day post players. Forward Aryana Dizon, usually the Patriots' second-leading scorer, finished the night with two points.
"Who doesn't key in on our post players? You've got to," Nohra said. "We've got three of them. That's a huge luxury for us."
With other players being guarded, McGill took it as her opportunity to step up. The senior forward had 13 points in the second half, including a pair of clutch free throws down the stretch to win the game for the Patriots.
Brooks DeBartolo outscored Carrollwood Day 21-13 in the fourth quarter, but the Patriots still found a way to survive.
And as far as Nohra is concerned, despite his team's flaws, that was the biggest takeaway.
"Every possession is critical at this time of the year, and you can't just willy nilly give that possession up," Nohra said. "The other thing is leaving 3-point shooters wide open.
“So we’ll correct that. We’ll get that straightened out.”
Region girls basketball finals
All games 7 p.m. Friday night unless noted.
7A: No. 3 Orlando Boone at No. 1 Plant
6A: No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 1 Winter Haven
4A: No. 2 Wesley Chapel at No. 1 Lake Highland Prep
3A: No. 2 Seffner Christian at No. 1 Carrollwood Day
2A: No. 2 Hernando Christian at No. 1 Keswick Christian, 5