Girls basketball: Class 7A state final preview

Girls basketball state finals

All games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.  Admission is $10 in advance, $13 on the day of the event. Parking is $10.

Class 7A

Plant (25-3) vs. Miami (15-8), 8

How they got here: Plant d. Sarasota Riverview 52-26, d. Orlando Oak Ridge 63-29. Miami d. Miami Braddock 61-20, d. Miami Palmetto 61-12, d. Naples Gulf Coast 46-30. 

Top players: Plant: F Kendal Cheesman, Sr. (17.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots per game); G Nyla Jean, Sr. (16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 steals per game); G Tanner Strickland, So. (8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds per game). Miami: G Kiara Cruz, Sr. (14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 steals per game); F/G Danajah Peterson, Jr. (10.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.5 steals per game); G Janay Quinn (10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 5.3 steals per game). 

Outlook: The Panthers, the top-ranked team in 7A, can complete their quest by winning the school’s first state title in girls basketball. That has been the goal ever since losing in last season’s state final. Plant put itself in position by beating Oakleaf in Friday’s state semifinal. Now, the Panthers get a chance to exact revenge in a rematch with Miami, the team they lost to in last year’s title game. To win, Plant will continue to rely on forward Kendal Cheesman and guard Nyla Jean, as they have all season. The Stingarees are not the same team they were a year ago. Their top three scorers all graduated. The inexperience showed early on. But after starting 3-5, Miami put it together, winning 12 of its last 15 games. Kiara Cruz, a senior, has taken on the leadership role.