Boca Raton and Palm Beach Lakes originally were not going to play this season. But one of the Bobcats’ games was canceled, and Boca Raton coach Nhu Nguyen knew who he would call.
“We tried to get a game together — but at the beginning of the season, I didn’t have a game available — because coach Cassandra (Rahming) wanted to play,” Nguyen said. “I knew it would be good for our community, for the girls. … We played a couple years ago, and she got us at our place, so I was looking forward to come up here and play her at her place.”
Rahming and the Rams got the better of Nguyen and the Bobcats when they played in 2014, but third-ranked Boca Raton (14-5) got a surprisingly large 56-38 victory Saturday, handing top-ranked Palm Beach Lakes (15-3) its first loss to a Palm Beach County team.
In the first quarter, the teams held each other in check, and it looked like the two sides would be neck-and-neck all afternoon. They ended the first eight minutes separated by three points, with Boca Raton ahead 10-7.
Then the Bobcats exploded. Boca Raton went off for 25 points in the second quarter, building an 18-point lead that it never relinquished.
“I would say we’re more of a second-quarter team,” senior Hannah Pratt said. “You can only warm up so much in warm-ups.”
Pratt had a game-high 16 points, and she notched a double-double with 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-1 forward added three blocks, as well.
“It’s easier and harder because yes, I am taller than them, so it makes it easier to block them,” Pratt said. “But also, on the foul side, refs like to call fouls on taller people more often.”
The Bobcats got strong contributions from their entire lineup. Kelsi Mingo scored 11 points, Grace Alfieri and Arianna Fabiani each added nine and Audrey Ramsey contributed eight.
After Boca Raton jumped out to its lead, the Rams never mustered much of a comeback. Led by junior guard Ra’shara Simmons’ 13 points, Palm Beach Lakes got as close as 11 points down.
The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Bobcats. They take on two of the toughest teams in District 10-9A — No. 10 Lake Worth and No. 6 Santaluces — and also No. 2 Oxbridge Academy next week. After that, they get No. 9 West Boca Raton and a 17-3 Palm Bay team to finish the regular season.
“The harder teams we play, the better we’ll play towards the end,” Pratt said. “We don’t want to play easy teams and beat them by 40 points every night because that’s not going to do us any justice.”
St. Andrew’s 52, Oxbridge Academy 50 (OT): Marcus Pelissier scored 22 points and Jammy Pierre-Louis added 20, as the Scots edged the ThunderWolves in Boca Raton.
Saint John Paul II 62, American Heritage 20: The Eagles rolled over the Stallions.