Knights fall in regional soccer final

Posted on 07 March 2019 by LeslieM


By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy coach Davidson Loriston Sr. looked back at his 2018-19 boys soccer campaign with pride.

After not making the postseason last year, the Knights not only made the postseason, they won the district title and advanced all the way to the Class 1A regional final before losing 2-1 to host Lakeland Christian. It was their first trip to the regional finals in 19 years.

Along the way, Highlands Christian (11-8-2) needed penalty kicks to defeat St. John Paul II Academy for the district championship and,two games later, needed double overtime to defeat the Eagles again.

Highlands Christian lost in the regional quarterfinals in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and in 2017 to Trinity Christian, 1-0, when they had last made the postseason. The Knights also lost in the regional semifinals in 2004, 2005, 2014 and 2016.

“It was amazing,” said Loriston Sr., who moved up to head varsity coach after coaching the middle school program at the school. “I told the kids that we had to work and do our part and God would take care of us. They all bought into it. 

The team received strong play from goalkeeper Daryl Carney, who logged 1,180 minutes played and posted four shutouts along with forward Jonathan Pereria, a junior, finished as the team’s leading scorer with 24 goals, and 3 assists. Pereria scored the lone goal against Lakeland Christian in the regional final. Carney left the regional final with a concussion just 15 minutes in, which also hurt the Knights’ chances.

Loriston Sr. said he didn’t even talk about winning the district championship.

“Honestly, when I met with the team, I told them my goal was not to win district,” he said. “I told them my goal was to make it to the final four. From there, the kids believed it.

“My team overcame a lot of things during the season,” Loriston Sr. said. “There were times when we just sat down and talked. I told them to worry about the things they could control and nothing else. I told them not to worry about it. This is your stress relief. Just go out and have fun.”

He said the team had two rallying points. The first when Thiago Nery was lost for the season to an injury and the second when they dropped a 3-0 decision to St. John Paul II Academy at home.

“After that game,” Loriston Sr. said, “we went around in a circle and each kid talked about what they could do better. The next two times we played St. John Paul II, we beat them. They deserved everything that they worked for this year.”

The team also benefitted from a trio of midfielders in sophomore Payton Caja (6 goals, 4 assists), and seniors Thiago Nery (8 goals, 10 assists in 14 games), and Lor Louis (4 goals, 7 assists). Unfortunately for the Knights, they lost Nery to a broken collarbone in a loss to Pine Crest last in the season.

Senior defenders Kyle Coulson (4 goals, 5 assists) and Ronison Exavier (2 assists) also played well in the back. Loriston also cited the efforts of freshman midfielder Moses Edson (goal, 7 assists) and junior defender Raphael Nery (goal, assist).

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Deerfield Beach Little League celebrates opening day

Posted on 28 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The annual tradition of face painting, hot dogs and various contests, including a home run derby helped kickoff opening day for the Deerfield Beach Little League on Saturday. 

“We’ve been in this fine city for 62 years,” gushed Deerfield Beach Little League President Jason Siracusa. “This is our second season with a new board of directors and we are looking forward to an even better year this season.”

Siracusa said the difference between last year and this year is that they are coming off a championship season. He would know firsthand as last season, Siracusa coached the Junior Division team to the state finals where they finished runner-up.

“Our league has grown since last year and our registrations are up,” said Siracusa, who said there are now 20 teams in the program. “Our sponsorships are up and we have a lot of new families, especially in the younger divisions which is really the future of our league. 

There are approximately 250 players in the league, from ages 4 to 16, Siracusa said opening day was a success. There was a tug of war between coaches and players, a cornhole competition, home run derby, fast pitch and a “triathlon” which consisted of hitting, throwing and running for the younger age groups.

“It was a great day,” Siracusa said. “We had a couple of more events. “The mayor and a couple of city commissioners were here and this was really about bringing everybody together for one time without any baseball, without any games going on. It just gave everybody a chance to get to know each other.

“We had our competitions, a BBQ and then off we go, the season starts,” Siracusa added. “This year was a lot easier than last year. We’ve embraced technology. We built a good foundation last season and we are more streamlined this season, financially and structurally. Building on that, we did a lot of online registrations. We have apps for the managers to help keep track of their teams to communicate with their teams and it makes it a better experience for everybody.”

 Siracusa said the top goals for the program this season is more championships, competitive baseball through both the city’s games and interleague play with neighboring communities in both the junior and 50/70 divisions. The league will consist of T-Ball, Coach-Pitch, Majors, 50/70, Junior and the Seniors, which will begin play in May after the high school season. Siracusa said running the program takes a lot of work and he credited the effort of the volunteers for keeping them on track.

“We didn’t get in all of our uniforms until yesterday,” Siracusa said. “We changed our uniforms this year too. The uniforms are brighter and they seem to be a bit more fun. We have the kid’s names on the back and we have Deerfield Beach in large letters on the front so everywhere we go, we are representing our city. We wanted to make sure we put out a good vibe from our city. 

Angel Davober, 9, of Pompano Beach, a Cresthaven School third grader, said he has played the sport since he was 4.  

“It’s fun and cool because you get to play a lot of different positions,” said Davober, who plays third base, second base and outfield. “I like playing third base the most. Today was awesome because you got to do a lot of different things.”

Deerfield Beach’s Neile Thomas, 14, of Deerfield Beach, has played in the league since he was 6. 

“There is a lot of good stuff to like about the league,” said Thomas, a Pompano Beach High School freshman, “It is very family oriented. The coaches put their players’ safety before winning, but we win too.”

Thomas was a member of the state runner-up Junior Division team a season ago.

“It’s pretty cool to get your name on a banner because you can come back in a couple of years and people you know you can say, ‘I was on that team,’” Thomas said. “On a scale from 1 to 10, that was like an 11. Going to a state tournament was like one of the coolest things I have ever done. Hopefully, this year we will go to states again and win it this year.”

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Bucks top Coral Springs in girls regional hoops semifinal

Posted on 21 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach regrouped from a sluggish start to top visiting Coral Springs, 44-35, in the Class 9A regional girls basketball semifinal on Tuesday night.

After scoring just one point in the first quarter, the Bucks outscored Coral Springs, 18-8, in the second quarter to open up a 6-point halftime lead. The Bucks cut the lead in half heading into the final quarter before Deerfield held on for the win and avoided the upset bid. It was the team’s fourth straight win over Coral Springs this season and 25th straight against no defeats dating back all the way to 2006 and this is the first-ever postseason meeting between the two schools.

 Deerfield Beach defeated Coral Springs, 70-27, and 55-39 during the season and 47-35 for the district title.

“Our next game we are going to have to come out and do a better job in practice on Wednesday and Thursday getting ready for (Boca Raton),” said Deerfield Beach coach Tami Vaughn, whose team will host the Bobcats on Friday at 7 p.m. 

“We just have to watch film and go back to the drawing board and see what we need to do, if we have to change up the lineup,” Vaughn added. “We have to go back to the drawing board to see what we need to do to finish out.”

Deerfield Beach senior DenAsia Mitchell scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Bucks (18-9).

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 it was in 2017 when star guard Mitchell tore her ACL and was lost for the postseason. The Bucks are on a four-game winning streak since a 68-64 overtime loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the quarterfinals of the Big 8 tournament.

 Deerfield Beach won state titles in 2003 and 2004 and was runner-up in 2002 and 2005. They lost to Miami, 48-31, in last year’s Class 9A state semifinals. 

Ely falls to St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas (21-6) outscored visiting Blanche Ely, 37-21, in the second half en route to a 72-52 victory in the Class 8A girls basketball regional semifinal in Ft. Lauderdale.

Blanche Ely, which finished the year at 21-9, lost to the Raiders, 66-61, 70-64, and 58-46 in the district championship before Tuesday night’s loss.

Raiders’ junior guard Bella LaChance, a Vanderbilt commit, led four Raiders in double figures with 20 points, while Tigers sophomore guard Ja’Leah Williams kept her team in the contest as she scored 27 points and hauled down 11 rebounds.

“We had a real rough third quarter,” Ely coach James Polk said. St. Thomas outscored the Tigers, 17-10, in the period.

Pompano

golf results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association held a Low Net (with a twist) tournament on Jan. 29.

 The results are as follows: A Flight: 1. Kathy Stewart, 67; 2. Abby Ages, 72; B Flight: 1. Janet Stuart, 69; 2. Kathy Dunn, 78; C Flight: 1. Lynn Goodman, 74; 2. Sue Bardhi, 75; D Flight: 1. Polly Rutnik, 77; 2. Roseanna Nixon 78. 

In the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association tournament on Jan. 22, Mimi Denoma shot an 84 to take the A Flight. Marianne Weber was second with a 91, while Sandra Gore was third with a 93. 

 Other results included B Flight: 1. Janet Stuart, 88; 2. Abby Ages, 97 (won tiebreaker); C Flight: 1. Patt Sessa, 98; 2. Ann Symonds, 101; 3. Lynn Goodman, 104 (won tiebreaker); D Flight: 1. Roseanna Nixon, 107 (won tiebreaker); 2. Verna Smith, 107.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a Two Best Ball of Foursome tournament on Jan. 30. The net score results are 1. James Greeley, Dave Hall, Jeffrey Raymond, Bert Welage, 112; 2. Oscar Aleman, Robert Blau, Roe Messner, Don Worrell, 115; 3. Tom Harrington, George Lyons, Paul Murphy, Carlo Spirito, 116; 4. Paul Berning, Andy Burt, Brian Nixon, Neil Wilson, 118 (won match of cards); 5. Jim King, Jim Muschany, Robert Raser, Roy Wilhoite, 118 (won match of cards).

 The closest to the pin winner at hole No. 15 was Terry Denoma.

 The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association also held a One Best Ball of Foursome tournament on Feb. 6. Net Score: 1. Tom Breur, Dave Dowling, Tom Pawelczyk, Robert Raser, 52; 2. Jim DiCamillo, Mike Grimaldi, Roe Messner, Jim Muschany, 53 (won tiebreaker); 3. Terry Denoma, Jim Dunn, Scott Feinman, Bart Valerio, 53 (won tiebreaker); 4. Lee Hammer, Tom Joyce, Dick Steffen, Bob VanZandt, 55 (won tiebreaker); 5. Andy Burt, Dave Danielian, Dave Hall, Gene Stoller, 55 (won tiebreaker); 6. Chuck Brown, John Feeley, Bob Mascatello, Tim O’Brien, 56.

 The closest to the pin winner at hole No. 17 was Frank Cutrone.

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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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Tigers roar into postseason

Posted on 07 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely girls basketball coach James Polk always believed in his team and that belief is paying dividends as the march into the postseason.

With a 58-26 district semifinal win over Ft. Lauderdale, Blanche Ely (20-7) moved into the District 14-8A championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Tigers dropped both meetings against St. Thomas this season falling 66-61 and 70-64.

“We are young,” Polk said. “I’ve got freshmen on the floor, sophomores on the floor and juniors on the floor. We try to learn and grow from our close games and our losses.”

“We expected to be fighting for the district championship,” Polk added. “Our goal this year was to represent Class 8A in Lakeland this year. We talked about being a team and goal as a team means ‘Together Everyone Achieves More.’ We are no longer a family because a family looks for favors and we are talking about being a team this year.”

Blanche Ely has gotten stellar play from Ja’Leah Williams, 5-ft., 9-in. sophomore shooting guard. Williams is averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game along with 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3 steals per game.

Williams, 16, of Pompano Beach, said the team lost some size from last year’s squad, but that wasn’t going to stop them. She compared her team to the boys teams that have won multiple state championships.

“I asked the team, ‘don’t you want to be like the boys?’” Williams asked. “I try and motivate them. We want to go to Lakeland just like them. We have to work hard just to get there too. I want to be there with them. Having fun with family and friends.”

Williams, who averaged 18.5 points last season, said basketball is important to her even though she only started playing at age 12.

“It means a lot to me,” Williams said. “Even though some girls started playing at a young age, I ran track and I never knew I was going to be this good at basketball. I think I realized I was going to be good when I tried out for my middle school team and made it. Not only did I make it, but I started as a 6th grader. We won the championship in my 8th grade year at Pompano Beach Middle School. I am going to make a championship happen again this year. I think there is a big difference in this year’s team. We are very small, but we are running more.”

Polk said during the season that there was still room to grow and they were maturing. The team has outscored the opposition, 1,677-1,220.

“I felt that we had opportunities to do some better things,” Polk said. “We had to learn how to play more of a possession game. We also had to learn how to secure the ball and take care of the ball. That was the major thing. I think we are also very aggressive defensively.”

In addition to Williams, Polk said others who have contributed heavily include junior JaNiyah Moore, sophomore Mikhia Lumsdon and freshman Breanna Gustave.

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Bucks expect 7 more gridiron players to sign

Posted on 31 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach football coach Jevon Glenn estimates he has helped more than 50 student-athletes get into college to play at the next level.

He will add to that count next week when seven more Bucks will sign national letters-of-intent to play college football.

“With the implementation of the early signing period it has accelerated the entire recruiting time frame,” Glenn said. “We haven’t really had to make much of adjustment from a program standpoint because our student-athletes get to visit numerous colleges with our spring and summer college tours.

“You spend so much time with them in the offseason and in the weight room that they become yours,” Glenn added. “I treat every kid in this program like they are my sons, so I am like a dad making sure that your kids make the right decisions.”

The Bucks had six sign during early signing day in December and will have seven more sign on Wednesday morning.

The University of Oregon football team picked up two prized recruits from Deerfield Beach High School in Ge’mon Eaford and Brandon Dorlus.

Eaford, a 6-ft. 2 in., 227 lb. four-star All-American linebacker, said he and Dorlus will be roommates.

He called Bucks coach Jevon Glenn at 4 a.m. to talk about it.

“I’m happy Brandon (Dorlus) is going there too,” Eaford said. “We are going to be roommates. I can’t wait. I love it.”

Dorlus, a 6-ft. 2 in., 270 lb. three-star defensive lineman, is looking forward to playing with Eaford. Dorlus originally committed to Virginia Tech in the summer, but de-committed on Dec. 5, days after he took his official visit to UF. Dorlus visited Oregon on Dec. 14.

“This is really big,” said Dorlus, who held offers from nearly two dozen schools. “It is a lot of stress off my shoulders and now I will work out and get stronger getting ready for college.”

When Dorlus was a freshman at the school, he said he didn’t give college football a thought. That all changed this spring.

“I saw all of the colleges that wanted me, and it turned out good for me,” Dorlus said. “When I visited Oregon, I saw what they got and what they don’t got, and I believe I can start from day 1.”

The athletes helped the Bucks reach the regional finals where they fell to Palm Beach Central, 21-6 and finished the season at 12-2.

Also at Oregon, is former Bucks wideout and 2017 signee Daewood Davis. The 6 ft. 2 in., 178 lb. wide receiver redshirted his freshman season.

Others who signed were: Marcus Lafrance (6ft. 2 in.,180 lb. DB) committed to Middle Tennessee State; Donte Banton (6 ft. 1 in., 180 lb. WR) committed to Utah; Javon Denis ( 6 ft. 1 in., 260 lb. DE/DT) committed to Georgia State; Dashaun Davis (5 ft. 9 in., 160 lb. WR) committed to Appalachian State.

Local golf results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association held the Wedding Game (For Better or Worse) tournament on Jan. 15. First place honors went to Roseanna Nixon and Darlene Sesto with a 136. Second place went to Kathy Stewart and Marianne Weber with a 142. Vonnie Okeefe and Sue Bardhi placed third with a 144, while Georgie Wright, Janet Stuart, Lynn Goodman and Sandra Robb placed fourth with a 145. Fifth Place went to Dianne Levanti and Nancy Oshea with a 146.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held an Individual Class Play (Low Gross and Low Net in Classes) on Jan. 16, at the Palms.

In the Class A Division, Roe Messner shot an 80 to take first in the Low Gross competition, while Bill Hadersbeck was runner-up with an 83. In the Low Net race, George Disch carded a 69 to take first place. Bill O’Brien and Patrick McClain each shot 71, however, O’Brien won on a match of cards.

Tom Breur won the Low Gross competition in the Class B Division with an 85.

Mike Katawczik shot an 87 and won on a match of cards. Pete Strychowskyj shot a 66 and won Low Net honors for the division after a match of cards with Oscar Aleman. Max Walker shot 67 to finish third.

In the Class C Division, Don Worrell won Low Gross with a 92, while Gene Stoller was one shot back and won on a match of cards. Scott Feinman carded a 68 to win the Low Net honors, while Bart Valerio (69) and Bob Mascatello (70) took second and third, respectively.

Henry Lesburt captured the Low Gross honors in the Class D Division with a 101, while Tim O’Brien was runner-up with a 104. Dick Steffen shot 77 and won Low Net honors after a match of cards with Dave Dowling. Charles MacMichael was third with a 78 and won a match of cards.

The winner of the closest to the pin (Hole No. 3) was Don Worrell.

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Ely boys hoops on track for postseason

Posted on 24 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely boys basketball coach Melvin Randall never rebuilds, he just reloads.

He subscribes to that theory as the Tigers have won five of the past seven state championships. Last year, Blanche Ely romped Jacksonville Creekside 77-54 in the Class 8A final.

Before missing out on states in 2017, Ely had won four in five seasons, with 2014 the only year without a ring. The Tigers also won in 2007 and 1993.

Following a heart-breaking, 62-52 early-season loss to the defending Class 5A state champion, University School, Randall said games like that will prepare them for the postseason and tough games down the stretch.

“We fought well, but we made a lot of mistakes,” Randall said. “We did some good things, we just have to look at the film and reevaluate some of the things we did well and some of the things that cost us. I don’t believe in moral victories. I could care less about a moral victory. It is either win or lose.”

Blanche Ely led 18-14 after the first quarter, before University School outscored the Tigers 19-12 in the second to open up a 3-pont lead. The teams tied 14-14 in the third before University School outscored Blanche Ely 15-8 in the fourth quarter to pull out a 62-52 win.

Blanche Ely junior Aderes Staton-McCray had a team-high 17 points, while junior Tyrecke Francois added 12 points and five rebounds in the loss.

“I have to find a leader,” Randall said. “Although I have a person who has been here all four years and supposed to lead, I guess he wanted to play the childhood game of hide and go seek and he won. I couldn’t find him.”

Since that time, the Tigers (13-6) have started to roar winning five straight games, including victories over Pembroke Pines Charter, Plantation, Dillard, St. Thomas Aquinas and Western. The team is currently at 5-0 and leading the District 14-8A standings.

Randall said he is counting on Joshua Scott to spearhead of the group. He also cited Francois, junior Lamont Evans and Malachi Hazelton.

“There are quite a few,” added Randall, whose team graduated six players from last year’s team – including four starters. “We are young, but we still have a little talent. We just have to get on the same accord. We are going to reload and we are going to be alright. We are going to be better than alright. Trust me.”

Registration begins for women in distress tourney

Registration for the 7th annual Women in Distress golf tournament has begun and will continue until the maximum field of 32 teams are complete.

Once again, the Colony West Women’s Golf Group will be producing the tournament, which will be on March 21, however, the tournament will be held at Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course this year because of construction at the Colony West Golf Club.

“Because the (clubhouse) building is demolished so we could not have a luncheon after golf,” said Jan Parke, tournament chair. “We will play the tournament at Pompano Beach and eat at Galuppi’s Restaurant which is at the golf course.

For more information, details or the registration form, e-mail janparke@bellsouth.net or the registration chair, Geri Thomas, at gthomas6116@gmail.com.

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Local cheerleaders compete in AYFL Cheer Competition

Posted on 17 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

For first-year Deerfield Beach Bisons cheerleader Dajae Nash, competing in the American Youth Football League annual cheerleading competition at the Watsco Center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, was an enjoyable experience.

She was a member of the Junior Prep (Ages 11-Under) Small Division and one of 60 routines that performed in the large competition in front of an estimated crowd of more than 2,000 people.

“It’s fun,” said Nash, 10, who lives in Pompano and is a fourth-grader at Tedder Elementary School. “There is a lot of stuff you have to learn. The music that we have is really good. This is a really big competition, so you get nervous. I wasn’t nervous though. I just believe in God.”

“Cheerleading is hard,” Nash added. “It takes a lot of time to learn the routines and get them right. The first time you are never going to get them right. It is going to take time for the kids to learn to get them right.”

Bisons teammate Amiyah Ashley, who like Nash is a flier, wasn’t in awe of the more than 2,000 in attendance at the competition.

“I like the cheers, the songs and competing,” said Ashley, 10, of Deerfield Beach, who is a fifth-grader at Deerfield Park Elementary School. “I get nervous (sometimes). I think about what I have to do.”

Deerfield Bisons cheerleading coach Kenya McDowell brought nine girls with her for the 11-Under competition, which received a participation award in the Junior Prep category.

“This is very cool,” McDowell said. “For three of them, it is their first experience and the other ones performed here before. It’s exciting.”

The Deerfield Bisons placed second in the Youth Prep (Ages 9-Under) Medium Division and third in the Pee Wees (Ages 8-Under) Small Division.

Pompano Eagles Senior (13-Under) Division cheerleader Gianna Mercado has been competing for the past four years in the sport.

“I like that it is very active, and it is something to do,” said Mercado, 12, of Pompano, is a seventh-grader at Somerset Key Academy. “The competition is the best part. You get very nervous, but you just push through it and just do it.”

The Eagles had a slight mishap midway through the routine, but they persevered. The Eagles took second in the Senior (Ages 13-Under) Medium Division.

“You just have confidence in yourself and know that you can do it the next time,” she said. “It was amazing. It was worth it. We put a lot of effort into it.”

Mercado said she hopes to cheer in college and said the setting at the UM campus validated it.

“For sure,” she said. “I have good experience and I have the ability. I believe I can do it in college. It would be awesome.”

Michele Longerbeam, who presides over the American Youth Football League cheerleading program, said there were more than 800 participants in the competition at the University of Miami.

“We have mini competitions throughout the season to get ready for the big one and this is the Super Bowl for cheerleaders,” said Longerbeam, who noted all 13 programs in the AYFL competed and there were a total of 60 routines that were evaluated by a panel of judges.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association closed out the year with several competitions.

On Dec. 19, they held an individual play tournament with awards for Low Gross and Low Net in Classes. In the Class A Division, Roy Wilhoite shot an 82 to win the Low Gross honors. Tom Pawelczyk shot a 67 to win the Low Net honors, while Bill O’Brien shot a 71 to take second, after a match of cards.

Oscar Aleman carded an 85 to win the Low Gross for the Class B Division. In the Low Net Division, Jerry Goodman and Bob Schurr each shot 67s.however, Goodman won on a match of cards to win.

In the Class C Division, Jim Dunn won the Low Gross title with a 93. Jim Foster won the Low Net Division with a 74 and won on a match of cards. Robert Raser was second with a 74.

Bob Mascatello carded a 93 to win the Class D Low Gross title. In the Low Net competition, Brian Nixon recorded a 67 to take first place, while Joel Englander was two shots back in second with a 69.

Roy Wilhoite won the closest to the pin on the third hole when his tee shot stuck at 4-feet, 2-inches.

In the Scramble alternate shot on Dec. 12, the team of John Arrigo, Patrick McClain and Pete Strychowskyj shot a 65 to take first place, while Robert Blau, Frank Cutrone, and Mike Marruquin, and Roe Messner shot a 69 and won on a match of scorecards. The team of Jim Dunn, Tim O’Brien, Bob VanZandt and Neil Wilson were second.

There were two winners of the closest to the pin: (Hole No. 7): Jim Greeley and (Hole No. 15): Gary Gill. The winner of the longest putt on the 18th hole was Roy Wilhoite and Dennis Sejda was the closest to the line on the 9th hole.

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Mendez makes state history

Posted on 10 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Photo by Gary Curreri

In the history of the FHSAA, 13 divers have won back-to-back-to-back diving titles and Lighthouse Point’s Kevin Mendez was the latest to add his name to that list.

The first was two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Desjardins, who won three consecutive state diving championships in 1924, 1925 and 1926.

“Winning states again was awesome,” Mendez said. “I love it. States is the last chance for team camaraderie and I love hanging out with my coaches and teammates. It was also good to see how well everyone improved this season.”

Mendez, 15, a Pine Crest School freshman, is the youngest diver to follow in Pete Desjardins’ footsteps to win three diving state championships, winning as a 7th grader in 2016, an 8th grader in 2017 and as a freshman in 2018. Mendez tied the Pine Crest School record for three diving state championships as he equaled Mike Mayfield (1964-66); Scott Upper (1982, 1983 and 1985); Austin Fields (2013-15) and Mendez (2016-18).

“His diving title this year in Stuart at the FHSAA 1A State Championships gives the 1A State Championship diving title to the Pine Crest School for six years in a row,” said Pine Crest coach Janet Gabriel.

His best dive this season came in winning the regional competition with a score of 545 in regionals. He was second in the district and won regionals and state.

Mendez is a 13-time national champion and part of the Team USA diving national team Tier 3. Among his USA Diving wins are three on 1-meter, two on 3-meter, three on the platform, one on Synchro 3m and one on Synchro Platform.

Although he is just a freshman, he said he would like to attend the University of Miami, USC or Cornell University, among his favorites.

“I am going to try and accumulate as many state championships as I can,” Mendez said. “I have to give a big shout out to my mom. She is my rock. She’s my everything. She is up in the morning and up at night taking care of everything for me and she is at every single meet that I am at.”

Pine Crest has been known for producing top divers and Mendez is quick to point out the coaching staff, led by Gabriel.

“I also have to thank my coaches for their dedication,” he said. “She is an amazing person and even a better coach. The diving community around Pine Crest just wants to help everyone do better and wants to help everyone win. The No. 1 priority is to go out there and have fun and just do your best.”

When he is about to dive, Mendez doesn’t feel any pressure.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” Mendez said. “I just know it is me, and my dive and the board. But when I am not on the board, there is a lot of pressure. It is a lot of mental training. It is a lot of practice in and out of the pool. It is a lot of conditioning and the only way to get past the pressure is the repetition.”

“I want to go all of the way,” Mendez concluded. “I want a college scholarship, but if the Olympics comes along the way, I’ll definitely take that opportunity. I would be looking at the 2020 or 2024 (Olympic) Games. It is every person’s dream to be wearing their country’s colors around their neck or around their body, so for me to be able to that would be a dream come true. I would be so honored and so blessed.”

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Highlands wins own tournament

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy’s boys’ basketball team is off to a strong start at 7-3. Among the wins is the championship in their own 41st annual Holiday Classic with a 58-55 victory over Lake Worth Christian for the title. Sophomore James Nichols finished with 14 points, while senior Ryan Lassen and Andrei Ganus added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Nicholas added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Lassen had four boards, three assists and six steals for the Knights.

I was very proud of our resilience and staying together as a team,” said Highlands Christian Academy coach Jim Good, who is also the school’s Athletic Director. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well that night and had several turnovers.

In the title game, sophomore Jimmy Good came off the bench and scored three big buckets including a jump shot at the buzzer to end the third quarter that gave the Knights some momentum going into the final quarter. Nursing a three-point advantage with 21 seconds left in the game, freshman Sal Federico was fouled and calmly sank both FTs to put them up five. Lake Worth scored in the final seconds to close the gap to three.

Lake Worth played a really good game and, honestly, I felt they outplayed us with a little more effort on the loose balls and boards,” coach Good continued. “They have some nice guards who get at it and got several second and third chance opportunities. We lost to them last year up at their place in OT in the regular season and then able to redeem ourselves with a win as we faced each other in the District Tournament. We were fortunate to find a way and come out with a victory.”

In the Knights’ 85-48 season-open victory over Hialeah Educational Academy, Lassen dropped 22 points and went 6 for 6 from the FT line. Alex Villas was named to the all-tournament team as he averaged 12 points and four assists over the three days. He had 19 points in the opening game, shooting 8 for 10 from the floor and 3 of 3 from the FT line. Highlands also set the school record for most 3s made in a game with 13.

Lassen was named the tournament’s MVP as he averaged 17.3 points-per-game in the three games, hitting eight three-pointers. He shot 67 percent from the field and 89 percent from FT line. Highlands went on to top Berean Christian, 67-47 to advance to the final.

The team’s three losses this season came at the hands of Village Academy, 67-52, an overtime setback against Katz Yeshiva, 64-63 and a loss in the Keswick Suncoast Classic tournament against Tampa Prep on Thursday.

Our theme this year is ‘More than Basketball’ as we are planning a Spring Break Missions Trip to Barcelona, Spain,” coach Good said. “The guys will be able to experience a ‘memory of a lifetime.’

We will be playing five goodwill games against some of the local club teams outside of Barcelona,” Good continued. “Coach Dave Bintz was the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Northside Christian in St. Petersburg, FL where I did my student-teaching back in 1997. He is now the director of Basketball and Sports Ministry at L’Arcada Camps.”

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