HOLLYWOOD – After a slow start, the Ahfachkee School girls basketball team gamely battled back in a Class 2A-District 15 semifinal Feb. 4. The Lady Warriors, who trailed by as many as 15 points, even held a late lead before succumbing to Donna Klein Jewish Academy-Boca Raton, 49-42, at Sheridan Hills Christian School in Hollywood.
The season-ending loss left Ahfachkee with a 5-5 record.
No. 3 seed Donna Klein advanced to the district championship against No. 1 seed Highlands Christian on Feb. 6.
No. 2 seed Ahfachkee, which had one of its strongest seasons in recent memory, was out of sync early and looked overwhelmed for the first few minutes. The Lady Warriors struggled to hold on to the ball and fell behind 12-0 after three minutes.
“We started off [down] 12-0 before we even knew what happened; I’ll take the blame for that,” said first-year Ahfachkee coach Jarvis Jones.
The Lady Warriors trailed 22-7 at the end of the first quarter, but they began to claw their way back into the game, aided by tenacious defense and crisper offense. Eight points in the second quarter from freshman Makayla Torres and four from sophomore Carlise Bermudez helped trim the deficit to 32-23 at halftime as Ahfachkee’s shooting and possessions became stronger.
In the second half, Ahfachkee showed it wasn’t about to let its season end without a fight. Senior Alena Stockton and Torres hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third quarter. A steal and layup by Bermudez and six more points from Stockton pulled Ahfachkee to within 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ahfachkee maintained the momentum early in the fourth as a Bermudez layup was followed by a 3-pointer from senior Leilani Gopher that gave Ahfachkee its only lead of the afternoon, 42-41, with 5:30 left in the game.
Unfortunately for Ahfachkee, the shots stopped falling. The Lady Warriors were outscored 8-0 the rest of the way.
Ahfachkee loses three seniors, but the rest of the squad are sophomores and younger, so the future of the program looks bright. Two of those youngsters – Torres (14 points, four 3-pointers) and Bermudez (12 points) – were the team’s high scorers against Donna Klein. Stockton scored 11 points and Gopher had 5 points in their final game for Ahfachkee.
“We had a good season, from starting the year not knowing if we’re going to have a team to now and lose by seven with a chance to play for a division championship, I’ll take that,” Jones said.