The heat was on in Lake Worth on Thursday. Or, more specifically, the air conditioning was off.
The air conditioning in Lake Worth’s gym malfunctioned, wearing out both the Trojans and visiting Santaluces as they fought through a close fourth quarter. When the temperature and the pressure rose, the Trojans ( 11-7) came out ahead, stealing a 44-39 victory over their district rival, the No. 4 Chiefs (11-5).
“The heat was bad,” Lake Worth coach Markus Emerson said. “Everybody was exhausted. We were exhausted, they were exhausted.
“Their main player, Whitney (Howell), she was out of the fourth quarter. We saw that, so we just got in attack mode, one-and-on. But the heat did play a factor.”
Though the Trojans carried a lead from the middle of the second quarter into the beginning of the fourth, it looked like the Chiefs might have had the upper hand in the final period.
Santaluces got off to a 7-0 run to begin the fourth, thanks to six points from junior Emiah Downie. But Lake Worth did not get down on itself.
Junior Trojans guard Recilia Nonnombre briefly took over the game, long enough to get her team back ahead. She scored Lake Worth’s first points in the quarter — with just 3:35 left on the clock — then helped navigate her team around the court as they dribbled away nearly two minutes after Donyell Harris gave them the lead.
Nonnombre finished with 15 points.
“She’s 110 percent every night,” Emerson said. “She’s go, go, go. She runs out of gas every night, she’s on E. She’s going to fight, fight, fight. When the ball’s in her hand, I trust her, and she’s going to make it happen. She makes everyone around her better.”
The win avenges a 54-36 loss to Santaluces in November and helps Lake Worth’s position when it comes time to seed teams for the district tournament next month.
“We needed that,” Emerson said. “They beat us at their house, and we really needed to win tonight to set us up for getting a good spot in districts.”
Wellington 66, John I. Leonard 25: Sydney Jones had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, and 10 steals, Jillian Dunkin added 12 points and 10 assists and Camryn Debose contributed 17 points and 10 steals, as the Wolverines (13-2) defeated the Lancers in Wellington.
Park Vista 48, Atlantic 39: Cayla Polsky’s 17 points helped the Cobras get past the Eagles (3-10) in Delray Beach. Amari Allen scored 19 points for Atlantic.
Jupiter 47, Seminole Ridge 32: Aayden Ghee had 18 points and five rebounds and Lexi Lynch added 12 points and five steals to lead the Warriors (13-2) over the Hawks in Jupiter. Aneeshea Cason and Jahnae Midget each scored nine points for Seminole.
Boynton Beach 50, Royal Palm Beach 38: Carina Bueno scored 13 points and Destiny Reddick added 10 as the Tigers defeated the Wildcats at home.
Forest Hill 52, Olympic Heights 31: Gabby Powell scored 15 points, Anayah Coles added 10 points and five rebounds, and Jah’nay Normil contributed eight points and nine rebounds, as the Falcons over the Lions in West Palm Beach.
Benjamin 64, Yeshiva 23: Emma Laszewski had a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds and Hanna Hilcoff added six assists, five rebounds and three steals as the Buccaneers handled the Storm in Boca Raton.
Berean Christian 74, Trinity Christian 34: Jenna Brannon scored 21 points and Zoe Baumeler added 19 as the Bulldogs (7-7) rolled over the Warriors in Lake Worth. Therezhina Graham also contributed 11 points for Berean.
Grandview Prep 58, Donna Klein 22: Scarlett Anosier had 17 points and seven rebounds and Danielle Montelbano added 15 points, six rebounds and five steals as the Pride routed the Eagles in Boca Raton. Sydney Levine scored 16 points for the Eagles.
King’s Academy 48, Saint John Paul II 32: Isabell Albert scored 12 points and Haley Gantt added 10 as the Lions (11-3) handled the Eagles in Boca Raton.