In consecutive weeks, the Miami Country Day girls basketball team has gone up against some of the top programs in the country in a pair of elite tournaments and come out on top.
The Spartans, ranked in the top five nationally by USA Today, ESPN and MaxPreps, topped nationally ranked Beaver Dam (Wis.) 52-43 in the American Division championship game at the Holiday Shootout on Saturday night at Gulf Coast High School. The Golden Beavers were ranked 10th by MaxPreps and 13th by ESPN coming into the game.
“We take a lot of flak for working our girls too hard. We’re always in the gym,” Miami Country Day coach Ochiel Swaby said. “This is what we do it for, to expose these kids to these types of moments and winning at the (Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix), winning in Naples, it just validates all that work we put in year-round and shuts up some of those critics.”
American Division tournament MVP Koi Love, a Vanderbilt commit, capped a fantastic three days with 19 points and 14 rebounds. USF commit Maria Alvarez, also named to the all-tournament team, scored 12 points for the Spartans (12-1).
The Golden Beavers (10-1) got off to a good start, leading 13-10 after one quarter. But the Spartans defense began to buckle down, with Miami Country Day intent on slowing Beaver Dam’s shooters.
“We knew they could shoot it. They can shoot the skin off the ball,” Swaby said. “We knew it would be a crazy challenge to keep them from making a ton of threes. We felt if we could limit (Maty Wilke and Tara Stauffacher), keep them from getting good looks, that we’d have a chance. Make some of the other players beat us, and make them settle for twos instead of threes.”