Remarkable Seasons For Seminole Ridge, Berean Girls Basketball Teams

The Seminole Ridge High School girls varsity basketball team.

The girls varsity basketball teams from Seminole Ridge High School and Berean Christian School may not have won championships in their respective classifications, but they have earned the title of champions.

On Friday, Feb. 18, both squads reached their regional final — Class 7A for Seminole Ridge and Class 2A for Berean. Along the way, both squads also won their district tournaments.

On Feb. 18, the Seminole Ridge Hawks traveled to Fort Lauderdale to play St. Thomas Aquinas, falling to the Raiders 79-25. The loss capped the most successful season ever for coach Maria Hudson’s team, who finished with a record of 16-2. No other Seminole Ridge girls basketball team had ever reached a regional final.

On that same evening, the Berean Bulldogs traveled south to play Miami Christian and were outscored 67-29. That loss concluded the team’s season with a record of 22-5 for coach Kevin Green and his squad.

While the local teams were just one win away from reaching the state final four in Lakeland, both had an exemplary post-season stretch of wins.

In early February, the Hawks began their post-season with the Class 7A district tournament. On Feb. 1, Seminole Ridge defeated South Fork 59-19 in the district semifinal. Two days later, on Feb. 3, Seminole Ridge outscored William T. Dwyer 43-36 to earn the district title.

That victory propelled Seminole Ridge into the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Class 7A state tournament, which featured the top 32 teams in Florida at the Class 7A level. In their opening game of the regional tournament on Feb. 10, Seminole Ridge doubled up Martin County, 73-35. That victory advanced them to a regional semifinal match against Everglades High School on Feb. 15. Seminole Ridge won again, 61-57. That victory then pitted Seminole Ridge against St. Thomas Aquinas, with its deep and talented roster.

“They had 13 players, and we traveled with seven players,” Hudson said. “That was the best team that I have ever coached against.”

Hudson was proud of her squad’s effort, which played without the services of senior Aspen Johnson, a Mercer University commit, who had been out of action due to an injury since late December. In the season finale, senior Ashley Thornton led the Hawks in scoring with 12 points.

“We played as hard as we could,” Hudson said. “I’m proud of how my team competed in that game.”

As for Berean, they also had a banner post-season string of victories before falling to Miami Christian.

On Feb. 3, Berean played Morningside Academy from Port St. Lucie in the district tournament semifinal. The Bulldogs prevailed 35-23. The next night, Feb. 4, Berean played the Saint Edward’s Pirates from Vero Beach. The Bulldogs overcame an early double-digit deficit and rallied to defeat the Pirates 40-34 to claim the district title.

That victory advanced Berean into the FHSAA’s Class 2A regional tournament as one of 32 teams in the statewide field. In their opening regional quarterfinal on Feb. 10, Berean faced Saint Edward’s again, as the Pirates had received an at-large bid into the tournament. The Bulldogs sprinted past Saint Edward’s 56-20. On Feb. 15, Berean hosted Dade Christian in the regional semifinal and came away with a decisive victory, 55-37. That win matched the Bulldogs against Miami Christian. The Berean squad fell behind early and could not recover.

Fortunately, Berean’s immediate future is strong. Green’s team only graduates two seniors, Paige Hazera and Samantha Mais. The bulk of his scoring comes from his sixth-grade point guard (and daughter) Aliyah Harris-Green and sophomore Ashley Hendricks, who averaged nearly 18 points and more than 14 rebounds a game. When you consider other returning players, such as shot blocker Claudya Glemaud, rebounding sensation Dylande “Dee Dee” Innocent and scorer Yemeli Tavarez, Berean will be strong next season.

Despite the loss to Miami Christian, Green was proud of his team’s post-season play.

“We won many games by sticking to the game plan and bringing lots of defensive energy to the game,” Green said. “We grew a great deal as a team this year. I’m very proud of their effort.”