By Dave Brousseau
POMPANO BEACH – The Blanche Ely girls basketball team found their way in the third quarter.
It also means they are packing their bags and heading to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland for the state semifinals next week
The Tigers used a 20-4 run in the third quarter to defeat rival Dillard 53-40 in a Class 6A Regional Final on Friday at Blanche Ely High.
“At halftime we knew we had missed too many opportunities,” said Ely coach Henry McNabb. “We told them to stay poised and the shots will start falling.
The run was just momentum and the crowd got into it. Creating turnovers and playing transition basketball is out bread and butter.”
Blanche Ely (26-6), winners of 16 consecutive games, looks to win its state championship since 1992. They will play Winter Haven in a state semifinal game on Thursday at 8 p.m.
The victory was the third straight for Tigers over Dillard this season. Prior to the 2019-20 season, Ely had lost 12 consecutive games to Dillard over 10 consecutive seasons prior to this year.
During the third quarter run junior guard Ja’Leah Williams scored eight of her game-high 15-points. Zaire Blake added 12 points for the Tigers
The first half went as expected for the most part.
Blanche Ely went for the long ball for points, while Dillard looked to go inside. Neither worked particularly well for both sides.
The Tigers, who led for much of the half, went into the intermission with a 22-21 lead on a Williams layup at the buzzer.
Dillard had briefly taken the lead at 21-20 on a Khyala Ngodu basket with 24.1 left in the half. She finished with 10 points
Chynna Mattair led the Panthers (20-9) with 11 points.
BLANCHE ELY 53, DILLARD 40
D (20-9): Christia 4-2-10, Mattair 5-0-11, Howell 1-0-2, Ling 2-3-7, Ngodu 5-0-10.
BE (26-6): Moore 2-0-4, Simmons 5-0-10, Williams 7-1-15, Blake 6-0-12, Ponder 2-2-7, Lumdson 2-1-5.
3-pointers: Ponder, Mattair. Half: BE 22-21.