Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

University Christian Falls to Miami Country Day in 3A Championship Game

Lakeland, FL – The University Christian girls basketball team ended their improbable journey just short of their goal of winning a championship. They fell 76 – 46 to Miami Country Day in the class 3A state championship game Thursday evening.  University Christian, known for their impeccable shooting found it hard to make a shot when it counted the most… in their championship game. IMG_8609Ja’Tavia Tapley went 8 of 16 from the field, Tarje Norman went 4 of 10 from the field, Glenisha Harkless went 2 of 10 from the field, and the team as a whole went 16 of 43 from the field, for a disappointing 37 percent shooting percentage for the game. Although Tapley would finish with 21 points and 11 rebounds, she was taken out of her game by the Miami Country Day defense. Everytime she touch the ball Miami Country Day sent two defenders at her. This actually worked in University Christian’s favor at the beginning of the game, as the Christian’s rotated the ball to the open player. #12 Jada Hudson was the beneficiary of this strategy early on. Hudson knocked down several shots at the beginning of the game,  scoring 8 points in the first quarter. Yet Hudson’s shooting streek would go cold, freezing the Lady Christian’s offensive output. A 5 point deficit in the first period ballooned to a 16 point deficit by the second period, and by halftime UC found themselves down by 19 points.

It was clear that if University Christian was to win their first girls basketball championship they would need to have their best second half of the season. Head Coach Keith Stroud gave his team a passionate halftime speech which translated into passionate play by the team in the second half. IMG_8577 Tapley began to find her groove, knocking down shots from the outside. Glenisha Harkless, who suffered a shoulder injury in the semifinals, pushed through the pain by distributing the ball in tight windows. Her sister, Nigeria Harkless provided a spark off the bench, diving for lose balls and driving to the basket. But the player that visibly showed the most heart was Tarje Norman who was seen wrestling for offensive rebounds, and converting on second chance points. Norman was a force down low, as one sports reporter affectionately nicknamed her “Baby Shaq”. However passion would succumb to precision as Miami Country Day executed their offense flawlessly.  Kelsey Marshall led them with 20 points,  Marsha Edwards complimented her with 17 points, and excellent ball movement found Maria Alvarez open for several three pointers as she finished the night with 17 points. University Christian proved no match for this lethal combination as Miami Country Day would win by 30 points.

Congratulations are still in order for the Lady Christians for an incredible season.  They are a young team on the rise and this was a learning experience for them. A team that consisted of just two seniors, with a 7th grader and an 8th grader in the starting rotation is destined to return to claim a title. For now however,  they must settle on being the class 3A State Runner-Up; A great accomplishment for a great team.


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  1. Joe Wallace

    February 19, 2016 at 12:45 am

    This article is garbage!!! How about giving more credit to the team that beat them by 30 points instead of making it sound like it was close at any point in the game. Country day doesn’t have a Jordan or Mya on their roster by the way, so come with some legit stuff next time!

  2. Paul

    February 21, 2016 at 12:27 am

    The name of the website is “Duval” Sports not Miami Sports! Noone cares about MCD in Jacksonville just like noone cares about UC in Miami! Check out the Miami Herald article, its all about MCD and they are a big time paper!

    And I don’t see Jordan or Mya in this article. I do see where they actually wrote about the MCD players.. So try trolling somewhere else!When UC returns to the championship game lets see what MCD has then!

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