Blue Devils Ride Mobley To Another Final Four
Sun. February 17, 2013 at 3:08 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
By RYAN T. BOYD | Ledger correspondent
CITRUS PARK | The play was indicative of the outstanding basketball skill Cynkeria Mobley has shown her entire high school career.
Nearing the end of the third quarter Saturday in the Class 6A girls regional finals against host Tampa Sickles, the Blue Devils senior guard stole the ball on defense and went coast-to-coast, finishing with a layup.
And from that point, Mobley preceded to guide her team to a 57-50 win over a tough Gryphons squad, advancing Winter Haven to its fourth consecutive state final four appearance.
With the win, the Blue Devils play Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday in the state semifinals at The Lakeland Center.
"There are so many colleges missing out on her," Blue Devils coach Johnnie Lawson said about Mobley. "There is nothing she can't do on the floor. She defends all five positions, and she decided we ain't going home (Saturday)."
Mobley poured in 35 points, with 25 coming in the second half.
Mobley, who has offers from Marshall, Georgia State and North Carolina-Wilmington, scored 16 of her team's 18 points in the third quarter on an array of shots around the basket and from long range.
"I definitely want to get back to state," Mobley said. "That is every senior's dream and to win it. I just told our players to keep their heads up."
Fellow senior Zeneka Willix scored 13 points, and Ly'Na Battles added six for Winter Haven.
The Blue Devils (22-8) had plenty of reasons to worry.
Winter Haven jumped out to a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter, and Sickles (25-5) quickly switched to a zone defense, which gave Winter Haven fits. The Gryphons forced the Blue Devils into a jump-shooting team, which allowed Sickles to close the deficit to 24-17 by halftime.
The Gryphons kept the pressure on in the third period closing the score to 33-28, behind three consecutive 3-pointers. Sickles senior guard Cassidy O'Brien drained two of those treys and finished with a team-leading 16 points.
"At halftime we said ‘This is our game', but sometimes it doesn't go your way," O'Brien said. "Sometimes, you don't have enough. We are pretty crushed, but we are proud of ourselves."
On Saturday night, Mobley was the one with enough to put her teammates on her back and carry them to the Lakeland Center for another shot at winning a third state girls basketball title in school history.
"My past years prepared me for this game," Mobley said. "It was pressure, but I like the pressure. We want to win a state title really bad, and we are going to give it our all."