6A: Ft. Myers Rolls to State Title
Attack. That has been the mantra for the Fort Myers girls basketball team all season. That mantra earned the Green Wave their first Class 6A state basketball championship.
The Green Wave scored the opening 12 points of the fourth quarter and went on to a 60-45 victory over Oakland Park Northeast on Saturday at The Lakeland Center.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Fort Myers coach Chad Terrell. “It’s a blessing to be a part of this. The girls did a tremendous job today.”
Sophomore Destanni Henderson scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds, while Bethany Brunson added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Green Wave (28-5).
“We came to finish what we started,” Henderson said.
The Green Wave made it to state last season but fell in the semifinals. Not this time.
But it was the presence of an unlikely source that helped the Green Wave.
Sophomore post player Alexsis Johnson, who averaged 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds, came off the bench and scored 15 points and pulled down eight boards for Fort Myers.
“We wanted to give Northeast a different look,” Terrell said. “We didn’t know how effective it would be but she did a tremendous job.”
Cabria Lee scored 14 points, while Ta-Kyla Austin added 13 for the Hurricanes, who finished the season 20-8.
The game was tied at 42 entering the fourth quarter when Henderson hit a short jumper, which started the run for the Green Wave. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes could not make a shot, connecting on just 1 of 18 field goals in the fourth quarter and scoring three points.
The Hurricanes played the final game without their head coach Zach Gillion. A Seventh Day Adventist, Gillion observed the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday and could not work or coach. Assistant Tiffany Charles handled bench duties for the Hurricanes, who said the team considered not playing but decided to play.
Charles, who had to coach once during district play, wondered how the outcome was affected without Gillion.
“There was a difference,” Charles said. “It was a big hole to fill, and we tried our best to fill it. If he would have coached, who knows the outcome?”