COUGARS STRIKE WITH HISTORIC FORCE
Glades Middle ballers fast break to school’s first sports championship
By Gary Curreri, Special Correspondent, Sun-Sentinel
Glades Middle School basketball coach Craig Lindo surveyed the gym on the first day of tryouts and noticed something missing.
There wasn't a single championship banner that prospective members of the team could admire and try to earn one of their own. So he made it his mission to bring one to the Miramar school.
Jabari Hill made sure the Cougars (11-1) achieved their quest for excellence with a top effort during the recent Broward County Middle School Boys' Basketball Tournament in Sunrise.
The eighth-grade baller had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds to earn Most Valuable Player recognition as Glades downed William Dandy, 56-49, in the title showdown at Piper High.
It is the first county championship in any sport in the six-year history of Glades Middle, which spent the first three years of its existence in portables with limited facilities.
"I knew immediately, even before I started coaching here, that we had the talent to do something special," said Lindo, who coached the girls' program last year. "I picked the best 12 [players] I could."
Glades Middle's only loss this season came at Tequesta Trace in Weston in the team's fifth game. The Cougars never looked back as they won their final seven games.
"It is my last year here, and I had to make history," Hill said. "I wanted to leave my mark at the school. This means a lot to me. We couldn't lose this game. We worked too hard to let it go."
Glades Middle took a 17-9 lead in the first quarter before William Dandy battled back and pulled in front at 31-30 on a 3-pointer by Javon Heastie with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Cougars went on a 9-2 run and gained breathing room at 40-32. William Dandy could get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Lance Crawford scored eight of his 10 points in the second half to lift the Cougars while William Dandy was led by Richard Lee and Therrell Gosier with 15 points each. Cedric Wright contributed 10 points.
William Dandy, which also finished 11-1, was making its sixth consecutive appearance in the title game.
"That was one of our toughest losses," said William Dandy coach Lorenzo Davis. "We set goals at the beginning of the year. We didn't fulfill all of our goals. It was a tough game. We will be back next year. It's tough finishing second."
The William Dandy team donned red and blue socks to show its support for Haiti's earthquake victims.