On Friday, Feb. 8, the Seminole Ridge High School girls basketball team hosted the Class 9A, District 9 final four with the Hawks earning the runner-up spot in the finals. The Hawks fell 64-50 to Palm Beach Gardens High School in the championship round.
The loss marked the third time Seminole Ridge (22-4) lost to the Gators. Palm Beach Gardens (20-4, 9-0) notched their fourth district title with the win.
“We have to rebound better, fight harder and stay true to ourselves and our identity,” said second year Hawks coach Maria Hudson about her team’s performance. “Gardens is a very fast, talented and well-coached team. We have a very young team.”
Two of the Hawks’ key impact players did not dress for the game due to injury, Jahnae Midget and Aspen Johnson may likely be absent the remainder of the postseason.
The Hawks trailed by the end of the first half 32-15 but were able to rally and close the margin. The surge kept the Gators from pulling away in the second half. Seminole Ridge got within seven, but still trailed 45-38 after Ashley Thornton hit two free throws in the fourth period.
“We’re a man-to-man team. In the second half, we came out a lot better than the first half because we went man-to-man, but when you do that, you can give up fouls,” Hudson said.
Late in the final period, the Gators jumped out with a 14-point run to extend their margin and all but secured the district title. Thornton and sophomore Lynzie Smikle tried to rally the Hawks to chip away at the gap that Palm Beach Gardens built, but it was not enough to challenge for the lead, making the final 64-50.
Thornton put up 15 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Smikle recorded 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Hawks. “We have a very young team and have to let them know it’s OK, it happens, play hard and fight,” Hudson said.
As the district runner-up, the Hawks traveled to Boca Raton High School on Thursday, Feb. 14 to take on the Bobcats in the first round of regional competition, but results were not available by press time.