Dee Anderson isn’t going to play basketball for the University of Florida because the coaches liked her shoes or her smile or the way she wore her hair. She’s going to play for the Gators because of what she has done on the basketball court.
On Thursday against Melbourne High, she was downright dangerous.
Anderson led the Hawks to a 70-42 win over the Bulldogs with 23 points in the second semifinal of the Class 7A, District 12 girls basketball tournament at Viera High.
Anderson started with a 3-pointer early, threw in a steal-and-layup, had active hands in the lane on defense and distributed the ball to her teammates. Despite playing inside as an undersized post, she led her team with eight rebounds. She also made seven steals.
Rolanda Hayes, headed to Florida Atlantic, added 14 points, seven steals and four assists.
Martin County won the night’s first game, 62-44 over Sebastian River, and the two winners will meet Saturday at 7 p.m., again at Viera. Both are already guaranteed regional spots, but Saturday’s district championship will also give home court advantage to one.
Martin County gave Viera one of its four losses on Dec. 13, so the Hawks (20-4) won’t have a walkover.
“Our heads weren’t on straight,” Shania Brantley said of that first meeting.
“Before we went there, we knew that we had already beaten a team that they lost to.”
Another key scorer for the Hawks on Thursday was Alyssa Laudato. She was scoreless in the first half and in a bit of a recent slump before coach Jamie Risberg called her to the bench in the second half.
“She said they were going to tape my leg,” Laudato recalled.
The thing was, it wasn’t injured.
Risberg told Laudato she wanted the tape to distract her so she wouldn’t dwell on her shooting, and it worked. The guard hit three shots from 3-point range and finished with 15 points and five assists.
“I was thinking about this instead of shooting the ball, and it just started going in.”
The fact that Melbourne was 0-6 in district play demonstrated the difficulty of District 12. The Bulldogs went 13-7 against non-district opponents. Rebecca Campbell showed why she was one of Brevard County’s most productive inside players, scoring 21. Had she had more offensive help early, the outcome might have been closer. None of her teammates scored until just 20 seconds remained in the first half.