Bucks win District title; face Cypress Bay Thursday

Posted on 14 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Even though the Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team lost three of four games during the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas during the holiday break, Bucks coach Tamala Vaughn called the trip a victory.

Deerfield opened the Las Vegas trip with a 55-22 win over Modesta Christian (CA) before dropping four straight games to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV), 46-36; Lynwood (Lynwood, CA), 67-50; and Desert Oasis (Las Vegas, NV), 56-26.

The Bucks won the District 11-9A title for the fourth time in five years and second year in a row. The lone year they didn’t win was in 2017 when star guard DenAsia Mitchell tore her ACL and was lost for the post season.

“This year’s team is a different team,” Vaughn said. “They are young and really inconsistent. The positive thought is that they are growing and the future is bright. They have great attitudes and I love coaching this group of girls. I don’t know what team is going to show up, the team that I think can win state or the team that gives me butterflies when they step on the court.”

Deerfield Beach (16-9) will host Cypress Bay (7-10) on Thursday night in a regional quarterfinal game. Of the Bucks’ 16 wins this season, 13 have been by 30 or more points. Of the nine losses, two have been by four points or less, one has been by eight points and the others have been in double digits.

“I know they all want to go to state,” she added. “We all have that goal in common.

They have grown since the beginning of the season and the light bulb is finally going on with some of the younger players. I don’t think they have been pushed as much. It was hard in the beginning for them to understand the system and the work ethic of the program.”

“We had kids that wanted to quit and kids that said, ‘coach, I can’t do this,’” Vaughn continued, “but now, since I pushed them beyond their limits, they are coming into their own.”

Vaughn said the trip to Las Vegas was vital to the team’s success. She said the players and coaches bonded both on and off the court.

“I have no regrets about the trip,” Vaughn said. “They were mentally weak before the trip and now they are becoming mentally tougher. I saw that in the St. Thomas Aquinas game (a 68-64 overtime loss). I was proud of the way they played and I think we are where we should be at this time of the season. They have gotten over that hump.

“The players became closer (in Las Vegas),” she added. “The players want to be the best teammates for each other. We bonded as a team. It was like a family atmosphere.”

In addition to DenAsia Mitchell, the Bucks have been getting strong play this season from freshman center Fatima Diakhate, who Vaughn says will be an All-American. Also playing well is senior forward Chakoi Mitchell (Indian River College commit); sophomore wing Aaliyah Reid; junior shooting guard Jasmin Worsley and junior combo guard Natalie Hessing, a transfer from Archbishop McCarthy.

“The girls have become more serious and they are working hard in practice to get better,” Vaughn said. “They just have to bear down, play hard and be consistent.”

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