By Dave Brousseau
LAKELAND – Miami Country Day came into the girls Class 3A state semifinal young and lacking championship experience.
In the end, it perhaps was the reason why they had a 13-point lead slip away to lose 76-70 in overtime to Master’s Academy in a Class 3A state semifinal at the RP Funding Center on Wednesday.
The loss snapped a state championship run over six seasons.
“I thought the last three minutes of the game was a microcosm of how our season had gone,” said Country Day coach Ochile Swaby. “We were up and down and inconsistent in our performance.
We showed enough to take the lead but couldn’t finish the deal.”
Master’s Academy (26-5) will play Carrollwood Day (26-2) for the state championship on Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Spartans led 64-54 following a 3-pointer by Sydney Shaw with under four minutes to play before they saw they lead evaporate.
Hannah Kohn tied the score 68-68 for Master’s on a drive to the basket with seconds to play in regulation.
Country Day (21-10) missed it first five shots in overtime, while the Eagles built comfortable lead with a 7-0 run in the extra frame.
The loss snapped the Spartans 33-game postseason winning streak
Shaw led the Spartans with 16 points, that included four of her teams 14 three-pointers for the game. Milani McCormack added 15 points and Olivia Delancy 14 points.
Aaliyah Irizarry led the Eagles (26-5) with a game-high 23 points that included a key three pointers that cut the deficit to 68-66 with 20.6 second left in regulation.
The Eagles finished with 11 3-pointers.
It wasn’t that Country Day wasn’t playing well in the first half, despite holding a 36-35 lead at the half.
Master’s Academy was just playing consistently well that allowed them to lead much of the first half, including a 31-23 advantage with 3:32 left in the second quarter.
The two sides combined for 10 three-points in the half, that included five from long distance by Spartans guard Milani McCormack.