The Hurricanes weren't the only South Floridians playing their spring game Saturday (though, if you missed it, you can still read about it or check out the play-by-play), as a few other big schools also held their annual intrasquad scrimmage.
Among them: Auburn, which features a quintet of former Broward players, and Mississippi State, which earned its first Sylvester Croom-era bowl trip under former St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback (and then-freshman) Wesley Carroll last season.
According to Mississippi State's stats, Carroll completed 2 of 6 passes for 16 yards and an interception in a defense-dominated, 6-0 contest. Die-hards can catch the game on CSS on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. and an "enhanced" version April 10 at 9 p.m.
...And, while we're at it, Chaminade-turned-Canes linebacker Glenn Cook finished with four tackles -- one for loss -- in the UM defense's 32-29 win, according to the UM game recap.
The sixth-year senior's quote on the defense winning, according to Hurricanesports.com: "It means a lot. We want to win regardless of it's a practice game. We don't like to lose [to] the offense. We've been the whole spring, every day, so it was good to close out with a win."
Courtesy of our friend Manny Navarro on the Canes beat, next year's McDonald's All-American games will be played at BankUnited Center, hosted by coach Frank Haith and the University of Miami.
This is a big deal for the Canes, but could carry extra meaning for at least one local high-school star. Who knows what the selection process will bring, but American Heritage guard Kenny Boynton -- ranked No. 7 by Rivals.com and No. 9 by Scout.com on their Class of 2009 lists -- could be South Florida's first McDonald's All-American this decade.
Caught up with Parkway Academy's Chelsey Lee, back in South Florida after spending some time in Milwaukee for the seventh annual girls' McDonald's All-American Game (won by the West on Wednesday).
She already missed it. A lot.
"It was most definitely an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life," was the first thing she said. "I will never forget this."
When she rattled off all the things she did, all the people she saw, it was easy to see why. Some highlights:
-Meeting the Doctor himself, Julius Erving, the day before Wednesday's game -- and wearing his championship rings. "I almost died right there," Lee said.
-Just being around 23 basketball players of such high caliber -- or, as Lee put it, "just being able to be in a room among people who are destined to be great."
-Being one of those players made Lee an instant (albeit short-lived, for now) star. "All the kids [were] wanting your autograph," Lee said. "You're not yet a celebrity, but everybody knows you're on that road."
-The nervousness Lee and her fellow All-Americans shared before the game, a feeling of "Can you believe all this? For Us?" she said. (How's that for humble?).
-Getting up close with four other Rutgers signees from around the nation, including co-MVPs Brooklyn Pope (Fort Worth, Texas) and Nikki Speed (Pasadena, Calif.), along with Jasmine Dixon (Long Beach, Calif.) and April Sykes (Crawford, Miss.).
And they didn't just share time on the court -- even trying to decide who will room with whom next fall. "I'll probably just take Nikki," Lee said. "Me and Nikki were real cool." Stay tuned on that one.
-With the East down big at halftime -- after beating the West on Tuesday in a closed scrimmage -- Lee and her teammates tried to fire each other up in the locker room. Enter Alonzo Mourning. "When he walked in," Lee recalled, "we forgot everything we just said."
'Zo did end up giving a pep talk to the team. His biggest message: "No matter the outcome," Lee recounted, "you've got to be something special to have made it here."
Just a few clicks and tidbits of interest from the Broward high schools scene...
- Parkway Academy's Chelsey Lee (five points on 1-of-3 shooting) and the East lost 80-64 in last night's McDonald's All-American game in Milwaukee, but her future Rutgers teammates don't look too shabby.
- StudentSportsSoftball.com (partner of Rivals.com) posted a photo gallery from the Southern California-based Nike Faster to First softball tournament, which Pembroke Pines Charter (still undefeated after last night) won earlier this month. Check photos No. 22, 30 and 33 for the Jaguars' celebration shots. There's also a video, but it's not quite George Lucas-level.
- No surprise: Pines Charter tops the all-class rankings from Wednesday's first Miracle Sports softball poll (posted here by the Orlando Sentinel). Naturally, the Jaguars also rank as 4A's No. 1. Others showing up in the polls: Flanagan (No. 7, 6A), Cooper City (No. 13, 6A), St. Thomas Aquinas (No. 2, 5A -- also No. 9 in all-class), Archbishop McCarthy (No. 14, 4A), American Heritage (No. 2, 3A), Coral Springs Charter (No. 3, 3A), Westminster Christian (No. 5, 2A) and Hollywood Christian (No. 11, 2A).
- From the old-school files, apparently Chaminade-Madonna football star-turned-Hurricanes linebacker Glenn Cook has been one of UM's standout players this spring. Even better news for Cook: His spring won't be wasted, as he just received a sixth year of eligibility after sitting out last year with a foot injury.
- Looking ahead: The BCAA track championships are Saturday at Coral Springs, with the prelims having been completed the last two nights. More from Fabian Lyon in Friday's Herald.
Can't get enough national rankings? Well, another batch came out today, as TAKKLE, Inc. (partnered with Sports Illustrated) launched its top-100 individual for boys' lacrosse, girls' lacrosse and baseball.
Although Broward and Miami-Dade were shut out by both lacrosse lists, baseball -- no surprise -- was a little different. American Heritage first baseman Eric Hosmer (bound for Arizona State in beautiful Tempe, Ariz.) showed up, and high -- he came in at No. 3, just edging fourth-rated Braddock shortstop Harold Martinez (profiled here).
In all, six players from Broward or Miami-Dade cracked the top 100:
- No. 3: Hosmer
- No. 4: Martinez
- No. 21: Adrian Nieto, C, American Heritage
- No. 38: Rolando Gomez, IF, Flanagan
- No. 40: JuanCarlos Sulbaran, P, American Heritage
- No. 93: Pablo Bermudez, OF, Miami Springs
ESPNU subscribers out there can catch Parkway Academy's Chelsey Lee in the McDonald's All-American Girls' Basketball game tonight at 7 p.m., televised live from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Lee, a 6-3 center and Rutgers commit who helped Parkway win the 3A title last month, is South Florida's third McDonald's All-American in five years. Dillard's Erica Brown (headed to LSU after two years in junior college) was on the 2005 team and Sylvia Fowles of Edison/Gulliver (an All-American at LSU, looking for another trip to the Final Four) made it the year before.
No South Floridians (or Floridians, even) are in the boys' game, televised on ESPN at 9:30.
When MLB-ace-turned-Pine Crest pitching coach Al Leiter (profiled here last week) first addressed the team in January, he had a message.
"He was telling us he knows about American Heritage and whatnot," junior Kyle Francis said, "but he's saying take on anybody -- it's like a David vs. Goliath [thing]."
So, up next: David vs. Goliath, Friday at 4 p.m.
Goliath -- er, the Patriots, who moved to 14-1 after Tuesday night's 10-0 win at Coral Springs Charter (see below) and the nation's top team in RISE Magazine's preseason rankings -- already won the first matchup, 16-6. The Panthers -- who stopped a two-game losing streak Tuesday by scoring five runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh (see below) against Pompano Beach -- hope this one turns out differently.
Of course, if American Heritage coach Todd Fitz-Gerald's assessment is any indication, Friday might be a little much for underdog Pine Crest (10-5).
"We're not playing our best," said said Fitz-Gerald, whose team heads one county north next week for the Gary Carter National Grand Slam tournament. "Somebody different every night is helping [us] find a way to win."
- American Heritage 10, Coral Springs Charter 0: Ryan Kahn (4-0) gave up just one hit in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four. Adrian Nieto went 2 for 4 with two RBI and two doubles, and Jonathan Diaz went 2 for 2 with an RBI for the Patriots.
- Pine Crest 6, Pompano Beach 5: Coach Glen Pierson called it "unbelievable" -- down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers got an error, three singles...then a walk-off grand slam from Troy Wiggins. "This was a great, great win for us," Pierson said. "We definitely needed it." John Blohm (4-2) took the win.
9sThough Florida's state basketball tournaments wrapped up a while ago, many other states just completed theirs (or, in New York's case, haven't quite finished).
The result: An almost-certain top-20 finish for the Dillard boys in RISE Magazine rankings, the latest of which came out Monday.
Dillard sits at No. 18, a little more than three weeks after beating St. Petersburg Lakewood in the 5A title game. The Panthers could even climb, as No. 16 Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) High plays in a semifinal game Saturday against unranked Bishop Maginn (Albany, N.Y.).
Still, Dillard was shut out by Monday's MaxPreps top-25 rankings and USA Today's most recent Super 25 (also released Monday). Miami's Norland, though, was rated No. 25 by USA Today, and Dillard still has a shot there -- a loss to Lincoln could knock Bishop Maginn from No. 24 and open up a top-25 slot in the final April 1 rankings.
I watched a thriller between Florida Christian and Douglas last night at FIU.
It was part of an ongoing series put together by LineupMagazine Monday nights at FIU.
Douglas beat FC 11-10 by rallying in the bottom of the 7th with two outs.
There's one game left after Spring break between Hialeah and Killian on April 7th. If you're a fan of high school baseball, it's a good option on what's usually a slow sports night.
Unfortunately due to early deadlines, my game story didn't make the paper. But it will be online on the high school page soon.
Here's a recap.
Despite having an early six-run lead slip away, the Douglas
baseball scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning
to beat Florida Christian 11-10 late Monday night at Florida
Chase Greene's sharp line drive up the middle bounced off
the edge of Patriots' pitcher Bryan Radziewski's glove and
allowed Zack Davis to score the winning run that ended the
The game took three hours and 20 minutes and was part of
Lineupmag.com's ongoing Monday Night Baseball series at FIU.
"Even though we made mistakes, I praise my guys for
battling back," Douglas coach Dean Florio said. "We
emphasize always putting the ball in play because something
could happen in your favor."
Florida Christian (14-2), ranked No. 3 in the state in
Class 3A, was one out away from securing a comeback victory
when Radziewski got Douglas designated hitter Adam Kam to hit
a grounder to shortstop Ray Navarro. But Navarro's throw to
first was low and bounced past first baseman Alfredo Brito,
allowing Tyler Greene and Brad Terboss to score and tie the
game at 10-10.
Douglas (10-5) took a 7-1 lead after two innings, but
Florida Christian scored three runs in the third and four in
the fourth to tie the game at 8-8.
The Patriots took a 9-8 lead when Brito hit one of his
three singles in the top of the fifth. He scored three batters
later when right fielder Jarret Burgess reached on an infield
single with two outs.
Florida Christian's Andrew Webster held Douglas' hitters in
check, going four scoreless innings in relief of starter Danny
Sanchez. But Webster hit a batter to start the seventh and
walked two more to load the bases.
"I thought we showed a lot of character to come back
early, but sometimes mental mistakes happen," Florida
Christian coach Ernie Padron said. "It's part of the game,
and they'll learn from it."
Florida Chr. 013 410 1 --10 10 3
Douglas 341 000 3 --11 11 5
WP: Billy Miller (1-0). LP: Bryan Radziewski.
The Herald High School Sports Blog caught up with St. Thomas Aquinas grad Leonard Hankerson -- now a wide receiver with the University of Miami -- after the Canes' scrimmage Saturday.
Hankerson was one of the few to experience the Raiders' three consecutive losses in the 5A state title game from 2004 to 2006, but was there to watch them finally reach the top by beating Kissimmee Osceola 35-20 in December. Meanwhile, Hankerson played eight games last year as a freshman, catching six passes for 63 yards and a 1-yard touchdown against Virginia Tech. He figures to be in the receiver mix this year, especially with Darnell Jenkins and Lance Leggett having used up their eligibility.
Q: How's spring going so far?
A: It's going good so far. Everything's going well. Everybody's doing what they've got to do -- working hard and stuff, getting the job done.
Q: Where do you think you fit with the receivers this spring?
A: I think I'm right there among all the other receivers. We're all right there. So I think I'm in a pretty good spot.
Q: How was last year for you?
A: Last year, I guess it was pretty good. It [didn't go] how I wanted, really, but I think it went pretty good for me.
Q: How'd you like seeing St. Thomas win the title last year?
A: I liked to see that. I got emotional, too, though. I liked [seeing] them win.
Q: Emotional, like maybe you wished you could have felt that?
A: Nah, I was just happy for them, happy for Coach [George] Smith and everything.
Q: So what do you expect this fall?
A: I don't know. I j ust expect myself to be at the top, [to] work hard and get the job done, and just do everything right.
Q: And St. Thomas?
A: I think they're gonna be at the top, too.