Girls soccer teams are two steps from playing for state titles. Boys soccer teams are just starting their drive toward the finals, which will be played at Melbourne High in February. Wrestling continues with class meets.
Girls basketball, however, takes its first step onto the postseason stage in a big way this week as high school winter sports teams continue with a heavy schedule.
Although there is a sampling of girls district basketball tournament play today, most girls teams open Wednesday, including one relatively new to success and one that hasn’t seen much in recent years. Heritage went 8-0 in Class 6A, District 7 play and is the top seed as that tournament begins at Palm Bay High on Wednesday. Head coach Colin Turey returned four starters from last year’s district runner-up team, and much of his leadership comes from point guard Jessica Doyle and forward Latifah Fletcher.
“Jessica makes us go,” he said.
Turey pointed to her physical play and her calming influence on her teammates, and though her job is theoretically to distribute the ball while running the offense, she passed 1,000 points scored earlier this season. “She does what I ask her to,” he said.
This year, Heritage expected its biggest obstacle to be defending district champ Melbourne, but the Panthers swept that series along with the others. Still, Turey said Melbourne is “still the hurdle,” in part because of its size. His top weapon against that is Fletcher.
With the leadership of the two, Heritage is confident it can earn its second consecutive playoff spot by finishing among the top two teams. “I think for us, we’ve won seven in a row and are fairly confident,” he said. “We’d like to get to the (championship) game on Friday and earn the first home playoff game — at least for girls — in school history.”
Rockledge has a much longer history, and in 2008 the Raiders were state semifinalists. But the Raiders haven’t been back to the regionals. This week, Rockledge is the No. 2 seed in Class 5A, District 9, behind only Lake Nona. First-year head coach Reuben Williams hoped for good things this year, but he said the team is ahead of where it could have been. “I’m going to raise the expectations really, because I believe we have a strong chance to win the district,” he said.
Of the three remaining girls soccer teams from Brevard, two will play road games tonight in the regional final round. Only Melbourne, facing Miami Springs, will be at home at 7 p.m.
Boys soccer enters regional quarterfinal play Wednesday, with Melbourne, Merritt Island, Satellite and Melbourne Central Catholic all playing home games.
Regional final girls soccer, 7 p.m.
Class 4A: Miami Springs at Melbourne
Class 3A: Merritt Island at Plantation American Heritage
Class 1A: Melbourne CC at Evangelical Christian
Class 6A, District 7 girls basketball at Palm Bay
No. 5 Bayside vs. No. 4 Eau Gallie, 7
Class 2A, District 6 girls basketball at MIC
No. 5 Brevard Christian at No. 4 City of Life Christian, 5:30