To make it to the Elite Eight in any sport usually takes a ton of seasoned veterans and experience. The Father Lopez girls’ 2012-13 state championship team was a prime example. Six of their first seven players on the court were seniors, and the other was a junior who moved the following year. This past season’s Lopez team had neither, but they advanced anyway.
With just one senior (Teresa Tabar) on the roster, the Lady Green Wave (24-5) made it all the way to the Region 3A Championship game before losing to the regional powerhouse, Seffner Christian.
On getting to the state final eight with very little experience, coach Brad Ridenour said, “Now that they got a taste of it, I hope they’ll work harder in the offseason, so we can go even farther.”
The Green Wave were led by first-year players, sophomore Madison Patrick (transfer), who averaged nearly nine points and nine rebounds and freshman Madison Patrick, who averaged 12 points, six rebounds and an area-best six assists this year.
With 11 returning players and new transfers, Ridenour expects his team to be much better next season, saying, “Kids in my system are much better their second season than they are the first year.”
With their top talent being underclassmen, don’t expect the Elite Eight finalists to go anywhere anytime soon. They are just getting started.
Lil Nuts put up 70 for fourth win
Since their first match of the season, the Daytona Beach Lil Nuts have crushed their opponents, the most recent being a 70-8 thrashing against the Tampa Krewe Saturday, Feb. 14, in Daytona.
Daytona controlled the game from the beginning with Bryce Beck scoring two trys (touchdowns) off Sam Vesely’s passes. From there, Beck added another try, also making five conversions, and Tarion Tillman, Nash Flood (2), Kendrick Williams, Alec Pitts, DeArlo Benjamin, Sam Vesely, Bobby Brown and Ricky White scored trys for Daytona. In their four games, the Lil Nuts have scored 177 points while giving up only 23.
Daytona has a bye week and will be in action again against Key Biscayne Saturday, Feb. 28, at Embry-Riddle University.