Father Lopez Pulls Away To Win 3A State Title
Fri. February 22, 2013 at 12:30 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
By ROB ULLERY
HALIFAX MEDIA GROUP
LAKELAND | Somehow Father Lopez found a way to win. Miami Country Day was controlling the tempo and the boards and held a 34-29 lead with 5:34 left when Danielle Minott hit a lay-up, the Spartans 15th point off turnovers.
But Simone Brown nailed a 3-pointer 30 seconds later and the Green Wave battled back for a 44-40 win in the Class 3A state championship game at The Lakeland Center.
“It’s amazing,” center Ashley Folsom said of the Green Wave’s second state title. They also won in 2005. “Basically I can’t think of a single word to describe it. So it’s amazing.”
Folsom had a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, Brown added 17 and The Green Wave (27-5) finished 15-of-17 from the foul line.
Minott led all scorers with 20 points for the Spartans (28-2), who forced 21 turnovers and had 18 steals.
This was a battle between the top two Class 3A teams according to Source Hoops and it lived up to its billing. Neither team led by more than seven points, though the Spartans were in front most of the way.
The Green Wave finally took a 36-34 lead with 2:54 left on Folsom’s press-breaking pass to Brown for a lay-up, their first lead since the 5:14 mark of the first quarter, and they would never trail again.
Minott hit a lay-up to tie it at 36 with 2:44 left, but the Spartans started sending the Green Wave to the line and that proved their undoing. The Green Wave would make 8-of-8 free throws in the last 2:12 to secure the win.
Shannon Cranshaw, who had been relatively quiet up to that point, sank two free throws to make it 38-36. Then after Stephanie MacKenzie knotted the score at 38, Brown gave the Green Wave the lead for good, 40-38, sinking two more free throws with 1:28 left.