Hard work has paid off for the Fort Meade Lady Miners basketball team this season, and in a big way.
In fact, the Miners earned a Class 3A, District 8 championship by beating Lakeland Christian, and then rolled into the second round of regional playoff action with a 42-24 win over Carrollwood Day School last Thursday night in Fort Meade.
The Lady Miners were scheduled to face a very good Seffner Christian team in Seffner last night. That game was played too late for Leader deadlines this week.
Head Coach LaKisha Palmore said the team’s success started early on.
“Going into this season the girls and coaches were excited. We knew it was going to take hard work to reach the goals we set for ourselves,” she noted.
The team posted a 19-6 record in winning the district crown, playing a slate of games that often put the Lady Miners up against bigger schools like Lake Wales and Lakeland and George Jenkins.
“With the type of schedule we have played this year, stronger and larger schools, we knew we wanted to prepare for the state tournament from the start. We knew in order to compete with the better teams in 3A, we would have to play the larger schools in the county,” she noted.
Fort Meade was matched up against rival Lakeland Christian in the district finals, a team they had two relatively easy wins over during the regular season.
“Winning the District was one of the goals for this team. Although in the regular season, we beat our district opponents by 20 points or more, we still reminded the girls to remain humble. Anything is possible. Now that we are going further into the state regionals, everyone is going to have to play their roles. The margin for error is slim.”
Indeed, Fort Meade eventually pulled away for a 59-50 win, led by Quinika Williams and her 26-point performance. Shamari Brown was the only other Lady Miner in double digits with 12.
Fort Meade was up 15-6 after one, and just 23-17 at intermission.
Against Carrollwood Day School, the Lady Miners rode the strength of a big start (they jumped out to a 22-6 lead) to a 43-24 triumph.
Williams tossed in 15 and Kyleyah Clark chipped in with a dozen. It was the Miners 20th win of the season. Fort Meade led 26-12 at the break, and were never seriously threatened.
That set up the matchup against Seffner Christian, who is 24-3 on the season.
“We are going to have to play our best basketball every game,” Palmore noted. “The players have put in countless hours, and the amazing coaching staff has given the players the tools to win. Now, it’s all about putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”