With a veteran roster that included four seniors in the starting lineup, Brooks DeBartolo had the experience to make a serious playoff run.
All the Phoenix needed was a challenge. They got it with a schedule that yielded few easy nights.
Winning tough games against quality opponents prepared Brooks DeBartolo for what it took to get past its biggest nemesis, defending 3A state champion Carrollwood Day.
The Phoenix ended years by beating their rival — twice. The first came in the district final and the second was in the region semifinals. That helped clear the way for Brooks DeBartolo to reach the state semifinals for the second time in school
On Wednesday, the Phoenix faced an even bigger challenge in a matchup against Miami Country Day, the top-ranked team in 3A that was aiming to win another after having its six-year reign as champions end in the semifinals last season.
Buoyed by its performance against other formidable foes, Brooks DeBartolo was hardly intimidated. In fact, the Phoenix went toe-to-toe with the overwhelming favorite for more than two quarters.
Brooks DeBartolo took a 9-7 lead in the first quarter and stayed within four points of the Spartans early in the third quarter.
Then Miami Country Day took over by feeding the ball inside to Andrea Daley and Kayla Nelms.
It was too much for the Phoenix to overcome in a 66-44 loss.
Brionna McClinton and Jaela Davis each had 10 points to lead Brooks DeBartolo in scoring. Daley, a George Washington signee, had a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans.