Day One for area teams at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland began with a heartbreaker for the powerhouse, Bishop Kenny girls' basketball team. Making their third-straight trip to the Final Four, the Lady Crusaders (20-10) hung with Class 4A defending champion Lake Highland Prep (18-0), the No. 2 team nationally. Twice BK rallied from down double-digits, cutting it to three in the second quarter and five with three minutes to play -- after being down a dozen. It was the first time a Florida team played Lake Highland Prep within single digits in the fourth quarter this year.
Ultimately, a series of turnovers and a six minute scoring drought held the Lady Crusaders back from the ultimate prize: a third straight trip to the Class 4A Championship game. Lake Highland Prep won 44-32, and advances to play Lincoln Park Academy in the final.
Bishop Kenny was paced by senior and Miami signee Jasmyne Roberts, who had 12 points. Lake Highland Prep's stand-outs Kayla Blackshear (Alabama), and Stefanie Ingram (UCF) were held to 6 and 4 points, respectively, while Louisville signee Nyla Harris fouled out. Sophomore Eleecia Carter led the way with 16 points.
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Making its first trip to the Final Four since 2001, St. Augustine ran into a three-point buzz-saw at the RP Funding Center. Palm Bay made eight three's in the first half alone, cruising to a 67-36 win over the Yellow Jackets (26-2). Palm Bay would shoot 43% from three for the game and used their height (three players over six-feet tall) to stifle the Yellow Jackets on the defensive end. St. Augustine did itself no favors with an eight-minute scoring drought in the first half; they'd shoot just 20% from the floor through the first two quarters.
The future remains bright in St. John's County: junior Janiyah Jackson posted a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.