TKA And Berean Girls Basketball Teams Reach Regional Finals

The Berean Christian School girls varsity basketball team. Photo by Jenny Schartner

At the beginning of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s basketball postseason, six boys and girls varsity teams from schools in the western communities qualified for the state playoff series.

The four girls teams were from Berean Christian School (Class 2A), the King’s Academy (Class 3A), Seminole Ridge High School (Class 6A) and Palm Beach Central High School (Class 7A). The two boys teams represented TKA (Class 3A) and Wellington High School (Class 7A). Of those six teams, two won their respective district tournaments, which allowed them to host their first-round, regional quarterfinal games.

Out of those six teams, two are still in contention for a chance to finish their seasons in Lakeland, the site of the FHSAA’s annual final four for boys and girls basketball in all classifications. Those two squads are the girls basketball teams from TKA (Class 3A) and Berean (Class 2A).

On Feb. 9, the TKA girls defeated Somerset College Prep Academy in the Class 3A, District 8 tournament championship, 60-48. That was TKA’s fourth-straight district tournament title. As district champ, TKA was seeded second in Region 2.

In their opening quarterfinal game on Feb. 14, it was a Valentine’s Day to remember, as TKA defeated First Academy from Orlando, 62-48. Junior Jade Jones and senior Sophia Kateris each scored 20 points to lead TKA in scoring. In their next game, on Monday, Feb. 19, TKA hosted the Lakers from Windermere Prep in the regional semifinal, coming away with a 62-55 victory, as Kateris led the way with 24 points. Jones chipped in 15 points, and Brielle George had 11 points.

For the third-straight year, TKA (19-9) advanced to the regional final, this time against host Seffner Christian (24-4), the top seed in Region 2. The game was played Thursday, Feb. 22, and the final score was not available at press time. If TKA defeats Seffner, the Lions will advance to the Class 3A final four in Lakeland. This year’s two Class 3A state semifinals will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Class 3A state final will be played Friday, March 1.

After defeating Atlantic Christian Academy 46-34 on Feb. 9 to capture the district title for the fourth-straight year, Berean was assigned the No. 2 seed in Region 4. In their quarterfinal on Feb. 15, Berean hosted Atlantic Christian in a re-match of the district final. Berean prevailed again, 45-15. Senior center Ashley Hendricks led her team with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

On Feb. 19, the Bulldogs hosted the Pine School from Stuart in a Region 4 semifinal. Led by Hendricks’ 27 points and 14 points from teammate Yemeli Tavarez, Berean won, 55-45. For the third-straight year, Berean (15-4) will travel south to play the Miami Christian Victors (13-13) in the Class 2A, Region 4 final. In 2022 and 2023, Miami Christian defeated Berean in the Region 4 final. This year’s game was played Thursday, Feb. 22, but the final score was not available at press time.

If Berean defeats Miami Christian, they will advance to the FHSAA’s Class 2A final four in Lakeland, where the first two state semifinals will be held Tuesday, Feb. 27. The Class 2A state championship final is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29.

In other area girls regional results, in Class 6A, Seminole Ridge High School lost their District 8 championship game to Atlantic High School, 58-52, on Feb. 9. Despite that loss, the Hawks earned the eighth seed in the Class 6A state playoff series. On Feb. 14, Seminole Ridge traveled to Pompano Beach to play top-seeded Blanche Ely in their opening quarterfinal. The Hawks were outplayed, falling 71-25. Seminole Ridge’s final record was 13-8.

On Feb. 9, the girls from Palm Beach Central High School defeated Forest Hill in their Class 7A, District 8 championship game, 70-51. That victory earned the Broncos the seventh seed in Class 7A, Region 2. On Feb. 14, Palm Beach Central played its opening quarterfinal at Palm Beach Gardens High School, falling 69-51. Palm Beach Central’s final record was 11-12.

In boys Class 3A, the TKA Lions lost their District 8 championship game to Cardinal Newman, 60-47, on Feb. 10. Despite that loss, the Lions earned the seventh seed in the Class 3A state playoff series.

On Feb. 15, TKA traveled to Lakeland to play the second-seeded Santa Fe Catholic Hawks in their opening Region 2 quarterfinal. The Hawks outscored TKA, 76-47. TKA’s final record was 21-8.