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Productive high school basketball seasons for Seminoles

Winning follows Lauren Jim, no matter whose uniform she wears.

During the past two seasons, Lauren played for two Miami schools and helped her teams compile a combined 47-13 record and win two district championships.

As a junior last season, Lauren and her older sister Katherine helped Florida Christian School win a district championship.

This season, with Katherine having graduated, Lauren shifted to Gulliver Prep and fit right in with the Raiders as they captured the Class 4A-District 16 title.

“Lauren came in right away during the summer and fit our system perfectly. She already had a good basketball IQ, so she was able to learn our system quite quickly,” Gulliver Prep coach John Zambolla said in an email response to The Seminole Tribune after the Raiders finished with a 25-5 record.

Lauren, a 5-foot-8 senior forward, averaged 7.9 points per game. Her highlights included 14 points in an overtime win against Doral Academy in the Gulliver Prep Lady Raider Thanksgiving Classic championship game and six 3-pointers in a triumph against St. Brendan in December.

“Lauren is a terrific shooter with good size. Her ability to space the floor was key to our success,” Zambolla said. “She is a hard-working student-athlete who really fit well into our system. She was a great teammate who was very coachable.”

In the Class 4A regional playoffs, Gulliver opened with a 44-29 win against Monsignor Pace on Feb. 4 in a quarterfinal but was eliminated five days later by Washington, 44-35, in a semifinal.

Seminoles pave way to Moore Haven’s success

Several Seminoles contributed to the first winning season for the Moore Haven High School girls basketball team in at least the past decade.

Junior guard Sydnee Cypress led the Lady Terriers in scoring with nearly 13 points per game, which included a season-high 25 against Imagine School in December. Sophomore guard Sunni Bearden was right on Sydnee’s heels with 11.2 points per game.

Tyra Baker was one of three seniors. She averaged nearly four points per game and finished second in rebounding with six per game.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the tribal freshmen trio of Alicia Fudge, Caroline Micco and Aleina Micco made significant contributions in their rookie seasons. Alicia averaged 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Caroline netted 8.4 points per game and Aleina had 2.4 points per game.

Moore Haven finished with a 12-7 record and earned the No. 2 seed in the district tournament, but the Lady Terriers were upset by Fort Myers’ Canterbury in the district semifinals.

Ethan Cypress finishes as Hollywood Hills’ top scorer

Ethan Cypress proved to be a model of reliable consistency for the Hollywood Hills High School boys basketball team. The senior guard from the Hollywood Reservation led the squad in several categories, including steals and free throw percentage.

Ethan was a double-digit scoring machine all season. He finished as the team’s leading scorer with an average of 17 points per game and reached double digits in scoring in 21 games for the Spartans, who finished 12-12.

Ethan eclipsed the 20-point mark nine times, including 21 in the team’s final game, an 80-65 loss to McArthur in the Class 7A-District 15 semifinals Feb. 2.

Ethan poured in a season-high 34 points in a 93-87 win against Taravella in late January. He also shined at the free throw line where he converted a team-high 80 percent of his shots.

Dennis Gonzales scores 20 in Vanguard’s finale

Dennis Gonzales finished his junior season on a high note. The 5-foot-8 guard from Immokalee scored a team-high 20 points for the Vanguard School in its final game, a 58-50 loss to Orlando Christian Prep in a Class 2A regional final Feb. 20 in Lake Wales.

Vanguard won its district title in early February and knocked out Bayshore Christian and Academy at the Lakes in the regionals before the loss on its home court to Orlando Christian. Vanguard finished 18-4. Dennis averaged nine points per game.

Vanguard coach Dan Sheppard said Dennis stepped up this season, including late in the year when the team lost its leading scorer.

“Dennis became a much more rounded player this year,” Sheppard said in an email response to The Tribune. “He was able to get himself in better physical condition and it showed on the court. He became the go-to shooter after the injury to Arin Taylor and was able to respond in the regional finals with 20 points.”

With Vanguard losing seven seniors, Dennis should have ample opportunities to step up.

“We are excited about his returning next year as one of the captains of the team,” Sheppard said. “I think he has a great future ahead of him in basketball.”


Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at