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Lady Bucks back in the Big 8

January 23, 2014
Deerfield Beach High School

After several years out of the mix, the Deerfield Beach and Fort Lauderdale High girls basketball teams are back in the top tier in Broward County.

Both schools have been invited to play in the Broward County Athletic Association's Big 8 tournament that begins Thursday with quarterfinal games at South Plantation High.

Deerfield Beach (16-5) played in the championship from 2002-05, but hasn't been there since. Fort Lauderdale (16-4), which played in three straight title games from 1999-2001, hasn't been back in 13 years.

"The difference this year than in past years has been the world," Fort Lauderdale coach LaShonda Gaines said. "These kids have given everything they have."

What's impressive about Fort Lauderdale is Gaines has no seniors on the roster, three freshman and two sophomore starters.

The Flying L's are led by freshman Keyanna Warthen, who is averaging 15 points and Thamiracle Taylor, averaging 12 points.

"The main thing is we have nothing to lose and everything to gain," Gaines said. "They're not old enough to get scared."

After several down years Deerfield Beach returns, but coach Portia Williams says there's room for improvement.

"They haven't reached their potential," Williams said. "The Big 8 tournament is a good measuring stick and will be a good test for us."

Dillard returns to the Big 8 as the defending champion. The Panthers have played in the finals 11 of the previous 16 years with five championship trophies in their possession. Nova has played in the championship games six consecutive years, winning only in 2012.

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