Wire to wire, Kissimmee City of Life is No. 1.
City of Life won the FHSAA Class 2A girls basketball state championship on Tuesday at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, handling Ormond Beach Calvary Christian 51-35 with superior size.
It was the first FHSAA state championship for City of Life in any sport and the team held the state’s top 2A ranking from preseason until winning the state title.
“This is what I came here for,” City of Life head coach Dewrie Buggs said. “We had a plan and we stayed committed to our plan every step of the way.”
City of Life (21-5) was holding a 43-19 lead by the end of the third quarter and the major concern for the Warriors was just keeping 6-foot-1, sophomore power forward Asia Harvey in the game. She had picked up her third foul with just five minutes left in the second quarter, stayed aggressive, but finally picked up her critical fourth foul early in the fourth quarter, which eventually forced her to take a break.
Harvey, who fouled out late in the fourth, finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, and 6-foot-3, junior post-player Kianie Cummings complimented with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“One thing I try to teach to the young ladies is, you have to play smart,” Buggs said. “We had to pick our moments when we could get them out and recompose themselves. I thought she did an amazing job after getting those three fouls, and then to almost complete the game. (Harvey) is the heartbeat of my team. Everything runs through her.”
Buggs, a third-year head coach, said this year was the first time he had two six-footers in the lineup and it made his job measurably easier.
“It did, knowing that they are going to alter shots and make the other team change their game up,” Buggs said.
Calvary Christian was led by Mariah Perez with eight points and Yasmin Perez with seven. The two seniors are not related.
Calvary head coach Rick Perez, who is Yasmin’s father, said he had seen the scouting before the game and he figured he could get City of Life’s big players in foul trouble if they drove the ball inside.
“The strategy was let’s get inside and let’s be aggressive. I figured if we did, things would go our way a little later in the game and they did,” Perez said.