March 27, 2008

Chelsey Lee: 'I will never forget this'

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."

--Patrick Dorsey

Thursday links, and more

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.
  • (partner of 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.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 26, 2008

Did somebody say McDonald's?

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.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 25, 2008

Dillard gets some RISE rankings love

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.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 08, 2008

State cheerleading wrap: Big weekend for BCAA

BOCA RATON -- The first FHSAA State Cheerleading Championships are done, and to use the cliche that they "went off without a hitch," would be, well, a bit inaccurate.

Douglas coach Jessie Metzger and athletic director Dave Grad claimed a timing error -- one that they say wasn't their fault -- knocked them out of the finals, and Michael Blosser of the Universal Cheerleaders Association wouldn't listen to their calls to appeal the penalty, which cost the Eagles 25 crucial points in the final judges' tally.

More on the controversy in Sunday's Herald, but it was -- cliche alert No. 2 -- a small dark cloud over an otherwise sunny weekend at FAU Arena.

Though only one South Florida team, Miami's Dade Christian School, earned a trip to the finals Saturday (more on the Crusaders' ninth-place finish in Sunday's Dade-edition Herald, too), several Broward squads did well Friday.

Stranahan took second -- South Florida's highest finish -- in the non-tumbling division. Dillard took fifth in that category, while Deerfield Beach and Everglades tied for sixth and McArthur finished 10th. Flanagan took sixth in co-ed small, Coral Springs Christian sixth in all-girls small and Coral Glades ninth in all-girls extra-large.

And beyond the teams, it was a solid weekend overall for the Broward County Athletic Association.

No stranger to putting on cheerleading competitions -- its annual county-wide competition started back up in January at Dillard -- the BCAA worked closely with the FHSAA over the weekend in staging the state championship. While Blosser and the UCA worked with the FHSAA on the judging-and-scoring part of the event, the BCAA -- helped largely by Coral Springs athletic director Dianne Sanzari and Coral Springs cheer coach Denise Reed, both members of the BCAA cheer advisory committee -- worked the "behind-the-scenes" portion.

Despite hailing from one county south of FAU, Sanzari, Reed and other BCAA leaders gathered volunteers from throughout Broward -- everyone from principals to athletic directors to random students -- to take tickets, work the parking lots and perform various other tasks.

They also got an up-close look at another major cheerleading competition, which could go a long way toward helping Sanzari fulfill her vision of multiple regional competitions throughout Broward, each leading up to the yearly BCAA Championship and then, ultimately, state.

And it was, Reed said, "all about the kids" -- giving cheerleaders county- and state-wide an inexpensive and previously unavailable chance to get together, network with other cheerleaders and coaches, and, most of all, compete.

"If you weren't here," a glowing Reed said of all the Broward schools not represented, "you missed out on something really great."

Said an enthusiastic Sanzari: "It was a learning experience for all of us."

And that includes coaches.

"I took notes all day," Reed said.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 06, 2008

Something to cheer about

It sometimes gets play on ESPN, FoxSportsNet, etc., and now it's in Florida -- competitive cheer.

For the first time ever, this sport will be recognized as, well, a sport, with seven state champions crowned (one per division, according to the schedule -- non-tumbling, all-girls small, all-girls medium, all-girls large, all-girls extra large, co-ed small and co-ed large) between Friday and Saturday at FAU Arena in Boca Raton.

And South Florida is no competitive cheer wasteland, either -- in late January, Dillard High played host to the Broward County Athletic Association's own competition, and a number of teams from the area will hope to get that title of "first state champion ever."

Here are the local teams competing this weekend, along with times and divisions:

Friday morning:

  • Miramar, 8:16 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Deerfield Beach, 8:24 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Coral Glades, 8:52 a.m. (extra-large)
  • Stranahan, 9:12 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Everglades, 9:28 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Lourdes, 9:56 a.m. (extra-large)
  • Dillard, 10 a.m. (non-tumbing)
  • Coconut Creek, 10:08 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • University, 10:20 a.m. (extra-large)
  • Gulliver Prep, 10:24 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Mater Academy, 10:48 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Calvary Christian, 10:52 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Cardinal Gibbons, 10:56 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Coral Springs, 11:04 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • South Broward, 11:12 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Boyd Anderson, 11:24 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Pompano Beach, 11:28 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • Key West, 11:36 a.m. (non-tumbling)
  • McArthur, 11:52 a.m. (non-tumbling)

**Non-tumbling and extra-large finals are set to start about 1:15, with the champions crowned at around 3:15 p.m.

Friday afternoon/evening:

  • Archbishop Carroll, 4:04 p.m. (co-ed small)
  • Sagemont, 4:28 p.m. (co-ed small)
  • Calvary Christian, 4:40 p.m. (all-girls small)
  • South Plantation, 4:44 p.m. (co-ed small)
  • Coral Springs Christian, 5:20 p.m. (all-girls small)
  • Central, 5:52 p.m. (all-girls small)
  • Ransom Everglades, 6:08 p.m. (all-girls small)
  • Flanagan, 6:52 p.m. (co-ed small)

**The co-ed small and all-girls small finals are set to start around 8:30 p.m., with the champions crowed at about 10.


  • Dade Christian, 8:04 a.m. (medium)
  • Taravella, 8:48 a.m. (medium)
  • Pine Crest, 9:48 a.m. (medium)
  • Northeast, 9:52 a.m. (medium)
  • Cypress Bay, 9:56 a.m. (medium)
  • Nova, 10:08 a.m. (medium)
  • Coral Springs Charter, 2:28 p.m. (all-girls large)
  • Doral Academy, 3:08 p.m. (all-girls large)
  • Douglas, 4:24 p.m. (all-girls large)
  • Fort Lauderdale, 4:56 p.m. (all-girls large)

**The finals for the all-girls medium and co-ed large divisions are set to begin around 11:20, with awards coming at 1 p.m. For the large all-girls division, finals begin at 6:30 p.m. and champions are crowned at 8.

--Patrick Dorsey