NICEVILLE, FL (WJHG/WECP) Count both Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida among the women's teams moving into the Juco State semifinals Friday.
Northwest Florida hosts the Region 8 basketball tournaments
Both getting wins in their quarterfinal games Thursday.
The Lady Commodores beating Florida Southwestern 73-64, in a game Gulf Coast led pretty much from the start. They built a 38-31 lead by halftime and led by two or three possessions the rest of the way.
D'Aisa Gregg led the way with 36 off the bench, Naomi Mbandu adding 20.
That puts Gulf Coast into a semifinal game against Miami Dade Friday at 6 o'clock. And it guarantees at least one more game for Gulf Coast
head coach Roonie Scovel, who announced last week she's retiring at the end of this season. Her players are keenly aware of that.
"Honestly we knew from the beginning that she might have made that choice to go ahead and retire." says sophomore guard Alhana Smith. "But she deserves it, every bit of it. She made her legacy, oh my God. It gives me chills thinking about it. Honestly it put more fire in our hearts.
Sophomore post player D'Aisa Gregg says playing on for their coach is certainly driving them!
"It was very important. We was on like 24-7. I don't even think we had any off days so we were really preparing for this tournament. We just take every game as if it were our last game."
As for the Lady Raiders, they made easy work of Eastern Florida, dominating from the start of their quarterfinal. A quick spurt gave them a double digit lead, it was 44-31 at the half. The Raiders cruised from there to win 77-54, Rayven Peeples led the way with 16, Gabriela Sales had 14 off the bench. So Northwest moves on to face Central Florida in the semifinals Friday at 8.
Coach Bart Walker thrilled to be playing this tourney on the home floor.
"Well obviously you get to sleep in your own bed. Get to play in an arena that you're familiar with. And you get to have the Raider fans here. That's our sixth man as you say. So we're happy as heck to have it here at Northwest Florida State and I think they've done a wonderful job of putting this tournament on."
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