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Friday, July 19, 2019

Plenty of Prep Talent on Display at Dunbar Lady Tiger Invitational/ Aspire Elite Classic

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Photo Caption: Kayla McBride of Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria splits two defenders during the 2009 Pennsylvania Class 2A state championship game. The Notre Dame recruit was chosen MVP of the Dunbar Lady Tigers Invitational/Aspire Elite Classic in Fort Myers, Florida.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Villa Maria Academy

By Pat McKee

Special to Full Court Press

Two Pennsylvania teams traveled more than 1,200 miles to square off in one title game and the nation’s eighth-ranked girls’ high school team rolled up the other star-studded match-up.

Those were the headlines from the 48-team, six-division Dunbar Lady Tiger Invitational/Aspire Elite Classic that ran Monday through Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla., with Erie, Pennsylvania’s Villa Maria Academy and Hollywood, Florida’s South Broward grabbing the top prizes.

Each division had a separate eight-team bracket, and the top two divisions were loaded with the most talented teams.

Villa Maria Claims Division I Championship

The Villa Maria Victors claimed the Division I championship, beating state rival Warminster, Pennsylvania’s Archbishop Wood, 39-37, in the final. Notre Dame recruit Kayla McBride scored 19 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and was named division MVP in leading the Victors (6-0), Pennsylvania’s defending AA champions. Senior Kaylyn Maruca added nine points, including several free throws down the stretch to help secure the win.

“It was a tough, physical game,” Villa Maria coach Scott Dibble said of the showdown with Archbishop Wood, a Pennsylvania AAA team and a favorite in the Philadelphia Catholic League. “They mirror us in a lot of ways, so it was fortunate for us that we were able to come out on top.”

As for the long-distance in-state matchup, Dibble said he and Vikings coach Jim Ricci joked about it before the game.

“We said we could’ve played this one back in Pennsylvania, but it’s a lot warmer here,” Dibble said. “His kids and our kids both got some time at the beach, so we’ve enjoyed ourselves here. It’s been a very good tournament. And to be honest, our region is fairly weak, so to get the games we had here was great.”

Villa Maria reached the D-I title game by beating both Orlando University, 68-35, and Davie, Florida’s Nova, 51-49 in overtime. The 5-11 McBride had double-doubles in each of those games, scoring 21 points and collecting 12 rebounds in the first and going for 21 and 14 in the second. Freshman Karlee McBride, Kayla’s sister, hit a jumper and Kayla followed with a three-pointer to put Villa Maria ahead for good in the OT win over Nova, last year’s Florida Class 5A state runner-up, led this season by Auburn-signee Jassany Willams.

Archbishop Wood (5-1) advanced to the title game with respective 76-52 and 72-42 wins over Memphis Lausanne and Gainesville, Florida’s Buchholz. Junior Steph Keyes scored 20 points to pace the Vikings in its opener, while junior Cait McCartney netted 17 to lead the way in the semifinal.

Lausanne features Tennessee recruit Lauren Avant on its roster, but she did not play in the tournament because of a shoulder injury suffered last March in an auto accident. Houston recruit Breana Williams scored 22 for Lausanne against Archbishop Wood.

South Broward Claims Division II Title

In the Division II championship, University of Miami recruit Krystal Saunders scored 24 points, junior Danielle Robinson added 16 and junior Kiara Shoats chipped in 10 to propel the South Broward Bulldogs—No. 8 in USA Today’s Super 25—to a 58-41 victory over Tampa Sickles. The 5-8 Saunders, who nailed five treys in the final despite sitting out about six-and-a-half minutes after a loose-ball collision resulted in a bloody lip, was named division MVP.

Amber Henson, a standout 6-4 junior, topped Sickles (14-2) with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Shoats and Robinson helped the Bulldogs (12-0), a Florida Class 6A program, to a quick 18-4 lead. Then when Sickles rallied to within six early in the second quarter, Saunders sank three long-balls in a four-minute span to spark an 11-4 surge. The outcome never was in doubt again.

“Krystal came in focused,” South Broward coach Richard Walker said. “Usually in a big game, she’ll step up to the play and she did tonight. When she went out injured for awhile I had a little concern, but she is the leader of this team and she’s been doing a great job at it. And for us to come here and win, it’s going to help us as we go into the second half of our season.”

As a nationally ranked team, the Bulldogs wear a target every time they play. They were challenged in their first two games, beating Orlando Boone, 59-49, and edging Jupiter (Fla.), 37-33. Saunders netted a game-high 16 points in the latter contest, where South Broward survived despite leading by just one in the final minute.

Sickles, which saw Henson produce games of 28-20 and 28-18 in points and rebounds in wins over Fort Pierce Central (52-31) and Miami’s Dr. Krop (54-45), entered the title match-up seeking to determine how good it really is. The Gryphons, a Florida 5A program, left knowing they have some work to do.

“We’re just 30 days away from the beginning of districts and then regionals, so this experience will help get us ready as we think we have a chance to make a run at it,” Sickles coach Mark Key said. “But this definitely was a situation where our kids have to realize what they have to do to play at [South Broward’s] level. The big thing is we didn’t quit when we got way behind. That’s something we’ll take as a positive from here.”

The other brackets all saw Florida teams prevail: Pompano Beach’a Ely, led by Maryland recruit Alicia DeVaughn, won Division III; Stuart’s Martin County, paced by junior Kaila Callender, captured Division IV; Fort Lauderdale’s Cardinal Gibbons, led by senior Aimee Osceola, took Division V; and Fort Myers’s Bishop Verot, featuring FGCU signee Katlyn Payne, claimed Division VI.

Here is a list of all the tournament results.

First Round
    Nova Davie 46, St. Petersburg Lakewood 37
    Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria 68, Orlando University 35
    Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood 76, Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne 52
    Gainesville Buchholz 72, Naples Gulf Coast 53

Second Round
    Orlando University 57, Lakewood 54
    Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne 55, Naples Gulf Coast 48
    Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria 51, Davie Nova 49, OT
    Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood 72, Gainesville Buchholz 42

Placement Round
    St. Petersburg Lakewood 55, Naples Gulf Coast 37, 7th place
    Orlando University 44, Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne 32, 5th place
    Davie Nova 62, Gainesville Buchholz 55, 3rd place
    Erie (Pa.) Villa Maria 39, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood 37

First Round
    Miami Dr. Krop 63, Pembroke Pines Flanagan 53
    Tampa Sickles 52, Fort Pierce Central 31
    Hollywood South Broward 59, Orlando Boone 49
    Jupiter 44, Tampa Jefferson 37

Second Round
    Fort Pierce Central 53, Pembroke Pines Flanagan 52
    Orlando Boone 59, Tampa Jefferson 53
    Tampa Sickles 54, Miami Dr. Krop 45
    Hollywood South Broward 37, Jupiter 33

Placement Round
    Pembroke Pines Flanagan 62, Tampa Jefferson 53, 7th place
    Orlando Boone 59, Fort Pierce Central 45, 5th place
    Jupiter 41, Miami Dr. Krop 39, OT, 3rd place

    Hollywood South Broward 58, Tampa Sickles 41

First Round
    Ocala West Port 55, Boynton Beach 28
    Pompano Beach Ely 47, Tampa Blake 34
    Miramar 34, Tallahassee Florida High 23
    Vero Beach 49, Fort Myers Cypress Lake 48

Second Round
    Tampa Blake 46, Boynton Beach 38
    Fort Myers Cypress Lake 66, Tallahassee Florida High 57
    Pompano Beach Ely 36, Ocala West Port 21
    Miramar 28, Vero Beach 25, OT

Placement Round
    Boynton Beach 44, Tallahassee Florida High 37, 7th place
    Fort Myers Cypress Lake 29, Tampa Blake 25, 5th place
    Ocala West Port 52, Vero Beach 39, 3rd place

    Pompano Beach Ely 34, Miramar 29

First Round
    Stuart Martin County 58, West Palm Beach Palm Beach Lakes 56
    Gainesville 52, Cape Coral 26
    Tampa Bay Tech 53, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman 43
    Fort Myers Dunbar 57, Naples Palmetto Ridge 38

Second Round
    West Palm Beach Palm Beach Lakes 59, Cape Coral 31
    West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman 67, Naples Palmetto Ridge 19
    Stuart Martin County 49, Gainesville 38
    Tampa Bay Tech 39, Fort Myers Dunbar 26

Placement Round
    Cape Coral 62, Naples Palmetto Ridge 57, 7th place
    West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman 82, West Palm Beach Palm Beach Lakes 47, 5th place
    Gainesville 54, Fort Myers Dunbar 43, 3rd place

    Stuart Martin County 63, Tampa Bay Tech 57, OT

First Round
    Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons 63, Orlando Freedom 32
    Lakeland Tenoroc 37, Miami Monsignor Pace 30
    Tampa Freedom 46, Lake Wales 40
    Fort Myers 43, Richmond (Va.) Hanover 33

Second Round
    Miami Monsignor Pace 55, Orlando Freedom 35
    Richmond (Va.) Hanover 42, Lake Wales 32
    Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons 48, Lakeland Tenoroc 42
    Tampa Freedom 53, Fort Myers 46

Placement Round
    Lake Wales 55, Orlando Freedom 50, 7th place
    Miami Monsignor Pace 54, Richmond (Va.) Hanover 34, 5th place
    Lakeland Tenoroc 48, Fort Myers 37, 3rd place

    Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons 58, Tampa Freedom 54, 2 OT

First Round
    Fort Myers Bishop Verot 60, Riviera Beach Suncoast 37
    South Fort Myers 38, Immokalee 22
    Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian 54, Tallahassee North Florida Christian 37
    Orlando First Academy 33, Lehigh 25

Second Round
    Riviera Beach Suncoast 57, Immokalee 39
    Lehigh 44, Tallahassee North Florida Christian 39
    Fort Myers Bishop Verot 50, South Fort Myers 39
    Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian 45, Orlando First Academy 33

Placement Round
    Immokalee 41, Tallahassee North Florida Christian 34, 7th place
    Riviera Beach Suncoast 39, Lehigh 20, 5th place
    South Fort Myers 48, Orlando First Academy 47, 3rd place

    Fort Myers Bishop Verot 60, Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian 45

Originally published Fri, January 01, 2010

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