Morgan grows up, so do Hornets, solving Pirates to muster first-ever repeat, 61-51

Weeki Wachee’s Morgan McDaniel shoots the final point against Crystal River in the Class 6A, District 7 final at Nature Coast Technical High in Brooksville. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
MEET THE CHAMPS! – Weeki Wachee claimed its first-ever district championship repeat following Friday night’s 61-51 6A-7 finals win over Crystal River at Nature Coast Ttechnical. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
HORNET SENIORS – WWHS’ Class of 2019 seniors (from left to right) features Brooke Sereda, Shayleese Vazquez, Mykenna Corbett, Seytia Hill nd Rhiannon Randall following Friday night’s 61-51 6A-7 win over Crystal River. The district title is Hernando County’s 21st overall.                                                                                                                                                                       Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Weeki Wachee rolls up

15-4 run across the last

3:15 minutes for win

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

BROOKSVILLE – In a nip and tuck third meeting this winter, top-seeded Weeki Wachee utilized a 15-4 run across the final 3:15 minutes to repeat as 6A-7 champions over second-seeded Crystal River, 61-51.

With 3:52 left at Nature Coast Technical, Pirate senior Beyonce Scriven stepped back and banked in a three-pointer to give Crystal River (19-5) its last lead, 47-46.

In winning the final period, 25-16, the US-19 cagers rode nine fourth-quarter points from sophomore point guard Morgan McDaniel and nine more by senior forward Seytia Hill to take the second of three meetings.

What’s next?

With the win, the Hornets collected Hernando County’s 21st career district title.

WWHS (23-4) will host next Thursday’s Class 6A, Region II quarterfinal against New Port Richey-River Ridge.

The Royal Knights (23-5) fell In Friday’s 6A-8 final in East Pasco County to host Wesley Chapel, 37-31.

The Wildcats (22-2) claimed its fourth straight win and will also entertain Crystal River at 7 p.m. next Thursday.

The regional playoff serves as the Hornets’ third straight while the Pirates advance to its 12th regional appearance since 1989.

Weeki Wachee’s  Seytia Hill (22) drives for a layup and part of her game-high 20 points in the Class 6A, District 7 final at Nature Coast Technical High in Brooksville. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Recapping the scoring

The Hornets finished with four players in double figures.

Hill, who arrived averaging over 12.0 ppg and 10.5 rebounds per game, finished with a game-high 20 markers. She also hauled down a game-high 16 rebounds.

Morgan, who entered averaging 8.0 ppg, finished with a career-best 18 points while senior Shayleese “Mama” Vazquez each added 13 points and nine boards.

The third member of the ‘Big 3’, senior Mykenna Corbett, added 10 markers.

WWHS canned 21-of-57 field goal attempts (36 percent) and survived 23 turnovers against the constant pressure defense applied by the Pirates.

For the Pirates, Scriven converted five layups along with her trey for a team-high 14 points while sophomores Haley Herman tossed in 11 markers and Rikella Trenary added nine points – burying a trio of shots from beyond the arc.

In the end, the Pirates could not overcome its slow start.

The Pirates converted just two of first 19 FG attempts. CRHS trailed early, 9-2.

For the game, CRHS hurt itself committing a game-high 26 turnovers while misfiring on 43-of-60 field goal tries against the talented Hornets’ defense.

Post-game chatter

“We really played hard,” admitted Trenary. “Down the stretch, we made some mistakes and they scored over and over.

“Overall, I thought we left it all on the court. We listened to coach. He told us before the game to get in front of their post people and to have some fun.”

“We tried our hardest to catch up,” added Scriven, 17. “We wanted this game. I think they wanted it just a little more.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to playing them again. I felt we hustled the entire game.”

Perhaps the biggest contribution arrived from Morgan.

In her 55th career prep tilt, Morgan responded with her best-ever scoring effort.

Before Friday, her high water mark was 15 points against Springstead earlier this season.

Twice Morgan hit the deck hard and needed a breather. Remember, just two weeks ago, she rolled her ankle against Lecanto and was carried off the court.

She rolled the same ankle against the Pirates.

Despite the pain, Morgan connected on 5-of-15 from the field – featuring three layups and two short jumpers – but made the biggest contribution from the charity stripe.

Morgan, a 58 percent foul shooter prior to the tournament, buried 8-of-10 from the foul line – including her last eight attempts.

With the game dangling at the end, Morgan sank all seven of her foul shots attempts in a clutch fourth quarter-performance.

“I thought the key was we were really supporting each other and communicating defensively in the fourth quarter,” noted the 15-year-old Morgan.

“Just when it seemed Crystal River was taking control, my seniors helped calm me down. They told me to slow down and play our pace.”

According to Morgan winning this year‘s title was harder.

Morgan McDaniel

“Last year I was coming off the bench when we won,” she said. “Tonight, I nearly played the entire game. I think went out for a total of two minutes. When I’m out there I can’t play with fear.”

Describing CRHS, “They put up a real good fight. I respect them so much,” said Morgan. “I even had a girl say to me, “I’m sorry I tripped you.” I’ve never heard that before.”

Though seniors, Rhiannon Randall and Brooke Sereda did not score, they each did a yeoman’s job keeping pace with the wave of Crystal River perimeter shooters.

Rhiannon Randall

“It got pretty tight in the fourth quarter,” admitted Randall, 18. “If we wanted it, it (the game) was right there. We all had to put our minds into it.”

On the win’s significance, “As a senior this is huge. Winning is amazing. Winning this year I thought was much harder because Crystal River has a lot of shooters.”

Brooke Sereda

“This (win) is very special,” added Sereda, 17, who was also an integral part of the rebuilding volleyball program.

“I thought the game could’ve gone either way. Give Crystal River credit, they played hard all the way to the end. In the end, we hit some big free throws.”

Mykenna Corbett

“It feels great to win back-to-back titles,“ beamed Corbett, 18. “It definitely feels great to win as a senior.”

On the keys down the stretch, “We had to box out and rebound,” shared Corbett. “And really slow down and control the pace of the game.”

On what has to happen next Thursday, “We know we have to play together and work even harder,” replied Corbett.

Shayleese Vazquez

“In that fourth quarter, everything was going so fast,“ revealed Vazquez, 18. “No matter what, we had to keep our heads up and not worry what they (CRHS) were doing. Deep down, we wanted this bad.

“To win back-to-back is a big deal,” emphasized Vazquez. “Yes, we did this as a team but we also did this for our school, too.”

On possibly facing CRHS for a fourth time, “Look, they’re a good, tough team. We have to beat them to reach our goals.”

Seytia Hill

“When the game was on the line, coach (Mike Munro) is always saying free throws make the difference,” explained Hill, 18. “We hit big shots down the stretch.”

On facing the Pirates, “They always put up a supper game. They definitely have a lot of shooters. We knew we had to come out swinging.”

On winning as a senior, “After going 0-55, Shayleese and I were here as freshmen. This program has come a long way,” said Hill. “I’m so glad to be a part of this team.”

Coaches’ corner

Fourth-year CRHS skipper Charlie Bryant couldn’t fault this troops.

“In the last 3½ minutes, we just couldn’t hit a shot,” emphasized Bryant. “Had the ball rolled a couple different ways, we might have won this.”

In meeting No. 3, “There were no surprises. We just needed to make some more shots. This is the highest shooting (percentage) team I’ve seen at Crystal River in 15 years.

On the game’s difference, “They (WWHS) made some plays down the stretch and they capitalized on some our mistakes. Once they got the lead, we had to foul,” he insisted. “The final score is not indicative of the way this game was played. It was close all the way.

On his team’s biggest positives, “I‘m most proud of how hard we played right until the end,” remarked Bryant. “Hats off to Weeki Wachee, they won playing an outstanding game.”

For his part, veteran WWHS skipper Mike Munro praised the Pirates.

“It wasn’t like playing Crystal River is like playing the little sisters of the poor,“ he quipped. “They’re a great team. They’ve lost to some quality teams.”

Mike Munro

Munro was hard pressed to describe Morgan’s coming out party.

“I don’t have the words to describe how well Morgan played tonight,” said Munro. “Suffice it to say she grew up tonight. She listens well and she ran the floor.

“Props have to also go to Seytia. When we get the ball to her in the blocks, good things are going to happen … They (CRHS) put a box ‘n one defense on Corbett, but with this team you have to pick your poison in defending us.”

“… Though Randall and Brooke (Sereda) did not score, they did a heck of job staying out on their shooters and they have a lot of them.”

On which district crown was tougher, “I think this year,” responded Munro. “We were suppose to win the Hernando Tournament and everything else. But we didn’t have Hailie (Bondulich) and Morgan stepped up into a new role. She’s grown up a lot.”

On the biggest positives, “I’m really happy for these girls,” said Munro, in his 19th overall season. “This team deserved to win it. They’ve paid their dues.”

Class 6A, District 7

Girls Basketball Tournament Recap

Quarterfinals

02-04:

@ Crystal River

Crystal River 68, Central 25

02-05:

Quarterfinals

@ Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

Citrus 43, Lecanto 40

Nature Coast Technical 59, Hernando 47

02-06:

Semifinals

@ Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

Weeki Wachee 61, Citrus 30

Crystal River 65, Nature Coast Technical 62 (OT)

02-08:

Championship

@ Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

Weeki Wachee 61, Crystal River 51

02-14:

Class 6A, Region II Quarterfinals

River Ridge at Weeki Wachee, 7 p.m.

Crystal River at Wesley Chapel, 7 p.m.

Weeki Wachee 61,

Crystal River 51

1

2

3

4

TOT

CR

10

10

15

16

51

WW

14

10

12

25

61

CRYSTAL RIVER (51) – DeVaughn 1 4-4 6, Scriven 6 1-2 14, Jenkins 2 3-4 9, Herman 4 3-4 11, Trenary 3 0-0 9, Black 0, Evers 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 11-14 51.

WEEKI WACHEE (61) – McDaniel 5 8-10 18, Randall 0, Corbett 4 0-0 10, Vasquez 6 1-7 13, Hill 6 8-13 20, Sereda 0 0-2 0, Hester 0. Totals: 21 17-30 61.

3-point goals – CR (6): Ternary (3), Jenkins (2), Scriven. WW (2): Corbett (2).

Total fouls: CR: 22. WW: 17.

Fouled out – none.

Technical fouls – none.

Records: Crystal River (2-1 tourney, 19-5 overall), Weeki Wachee (2-0 tourney, 23-4 overall).

All-Time Hernando County

Girls Basketball District Champions

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Mike Munro                                                                                                                          Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
 

TEAM

 

YEAR

 

DIST.

 

HEAD COACH

Brooksville-Hernando

1982-83

3A-7

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1984-85

3A-7

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1987-88

3A-7

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1988-89

3A-7

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1994-95

4A-7

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1995-96

4A-6

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1996-97

4A-8

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1998-99

4A-8

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

1999-00

3A-6

Walt Cermak

Brooksville-Hernando

2000-01

3A-6

Rodney Byrd

Brooksville-Hernando

2001-02

3A-6

Pete Lahey

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2004-05

3A-6

Jason Montgomery

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2006-07

4A-8

Jason Montgomery

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2007-08

4A-8

Travis Lamle

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2008-09

4A-8

Travis Lamle

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2011-12

5A-7

Emily Gore

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2014-15

5A-7

Emily Gore

Brooksville-Hernando Christian Academy

2015-16

2A-4

Mike Drummond

Brooksville-Hernando Christian Academy

2016-17

2A-4

Mike Drummond

Weeki Wachee

2017-18

6A-7

Mike Munro

Weeki Wachee

2018-19

6A-7

Mike Munro

 

—4

 

—21—

 

—8—

All-Time Hernando County

Girls Basketball District Titles

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

 

RK

 

TEAM

 

TITLES

1.

Brooksville-Hernando

11

2.

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

6

3.

Brooksville-Hernando Christian Academy

2

3.

Weeki Wachee

2

5.

Brooksville-Central

0

5.

Spring Hill-Springstead

0

 

TOTALS (6)

 

—21—

All-Time Hernando County Girls Basketball District Championship Coaches

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Hernando High’s Coach Walt Cermak makes a point to his squad against visiting Nature Coast. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
 

RK

 

HEAD COACH

 

TEAM

 

TITLES

1.

Walt Cermak

Hernando

9

2.

Jason Montgomery

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2

2.

Travis Lamle

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2

2.

Emily Gore

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

2

2.

Mike Drummond

Brooksville-Hernando Christian Academy

2

2.

Mike Munro

Weeki Wachee

2

6.

Rodney Byrd

Brooksville-Hernando

1

6.

Pete Lahey

Brooksville-Hernando

1

 

—8—

 

—4—

 

—21—

 

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