WESLEY CHAPEL — Carrollwood Day was without the winningest girls basketball coach in Tampa Bay history on Wednesday night. No matter. The Patriots cruised in their first game of 2021, beating Wiregrass Ranch 85-39.
Karim Nohra, who recently picked up career win No. 652, missed the game with an illness along with Carrollwood Day starters Olivia Delancy and Rylee Texter, but it hardly mattered as the Patriots used two first-half spurts to set the tone.
The Patriots (8-3) snapped a three-game losing streak, playing for the first time in 14 days. Wiregrass Ranch (9-6) lost for the second time in three nights.
The Patriots started the game with a 19-2 run. Wiregrass Ranch answered with nine unanswered points and eventually cut the deficit to 23-15 late in the first period. Leading 31-19 early in the second, Carrollwood Day hit the Bulls with a 29-0 blitz to highlight a 35-point period and take a 60-19 lead at intermission. A running clock was used in the second half.
Carrollwood Day forced 27 turnovers in the first half with 22 of its 28 field goals resulting in layups. The Patriots shot 55 percent in the opening two quarters.
Assistant Mackenzie Crowe, who played point guard for Nohra at Cambridge Christian, coached Wednesday.
“The girls did a great job looking for each other,” Crowe said. “That was one thing that we were preaching over Christmas break when we came back. Get the head up, swing the ball, move it and get inside. We want (the players) to do a lot of rotating and get the ball to their peers, because if we can have multiple people scoring double figures, it’s going to be really hard to stop us.”
Milahnie Perry led Carrollwood Day with 26 points. Aryana Dizon added 22, Leigh Ann Hanley 21 and Ceniya King 11. Ashlyn Couzens (12) and Zoi Evans (11) paced Wiregrass Ranch’s scorers.
Nohra had a 2020 to remember. On Feb. 29, he won his first state championship as Carrollwood Day outlasted Oviedo Master’s Academy 48-42 in overtime for the Class 3A title — the Patriots’ only crown.
Then on Dec. 21, Nohra surpassed Tom Shaneyfelt as the girls basketball wins leader in a unique way: a 2-0 forfeit victory against Orlando West Oaks Academy. It was the 651st win for Nohra, who has been at Carrollwood Day since 2016 with previous girls basketball stops at Academy at the Lakes and Wesley Chapel.
Nohra is one of four Tampa Bay girls basketball coaches in the 600-win club. The retired Shaneyfelt compiled 650 victories at Clearwater and Osceola, and added 54 wins in boys basketball with the Tornadoes. Tom Mosca, also retired, collected 618 victories at Brandon, Jefferson and Robinson.
Karrmayne King continues to coach at Keswick Christian, where she can earn her 607th win in the sport Thursday night at home against Northside Christian.
“Karim Nohra is a statistics man, so he was aware of his record,” Crowe said. “He wants to see the team prosper and do well. . . . He’s always been that way. Even after we won state, I think all of his state medals are in that bag. He just likes to see the girls doing well.
“As a player for him, I was excited for him. He’s been around for a long time. Every milestone he’s hit, we’ve reached out to old teammates and they’ve come to those games. But he could care less about (the records). If the girls are winning, doing well, getting along and becoming good people in society, that’s what he really cares about.”