- Gainesville, FL. Written by: Kyrin Mayfield
Defense wins championships. That might not be a 100% fact, but it certainly can change the game.
Enter the Pedro Menendez Lady Falcons. Their strength lies in their offense. They were on a five-game winning streak coming into Tuesday's 6A Regional Semifinal against the Eastside Lady Rams. The Rams were on a four-game winning streak, themselves. The Falcons scored at least 51 points in each of those wins. Who needs defense with an offense like that?
Well, last year both teams did. Eastside pulled out a tight 32-29 win over Menendez in the Regional Quarterfinals. There were signs leading up to this year’s matchup that suggested a different outcome. With Menendez’s offense hitting its stride and Eastside’s Deasia Danzy averaging over 17 points per game, it had signs a high-scoring game.
The first quarter offered a glimpse of efficient offense and high-pressure defense. The Falcons were heavily double-teaming the Rams, which led to six steals in the quarter, four by Aniyah Foster. A three-pointer by Eastside’s Bree Miles tied the game at seven and ignited a 7-0 run to put them ahead 11-7, with Miles scoring seven of those points. Menendez came back to tie the game at 11 before the end of the quarter.
Remember when it was mentioned that defense can change the game? The second quarter is when that came into play. The Falcons began the scoring with a quick trey by Vaclava Seifrtova. Even she was surprised it went in as she stood there, staring at her head coach Terrance Washington with her jaw dropped.
Eastside, however, couldn’t get a single shot to fall. They went the entire quarter without making a field goal. They almost went the entire quarter without scoring a point if it wasn’t for a free throw made by Danzy with 15 seconds, left after the Rams missed their first six of the quarter. Menendez managed to score 17 in the quarter and lead 28-12 at the half. Despite their shooting woes, Janeil Allen grabbed eight rebounds for the Rams.
Frustration began to set in for Eastside. The Rams had seven fouls four minutes into the quarter. Danzy fouled out, leaving the Rams without their leading scorer. Menendez went on a 8-1 run and ended the third quarter up 42-20.
Nothing changed in the fourth quarter as Menendez won 56-35 and got revenge for last year’s loss. Foster led the Falcons with 21 points, seven rebounds, and 10 steals, just enough for a double-double. Anterior Evans added 14 points with four steals. Seifrtova cleaned the boards well with seven rebounds, six of them offensive. Katie White added a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Rams were led by 18 points from Miles, over half of the team’s total points scored. Allen had 10 rebounds. Eastside ends their season at 16-12. Menendez (17-10) plays Weeki-Wachee in the regional finals on Friday, February 22.