0

Yikes!: Randolph-Clay girls rout Seminole, 80-33, for 1-A crown

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CUTHBERT -- Is anyone going to beat Randolph-Clay's girls?

Seriously, this team looks too good to lose at times -- and there's no better time to watch the Lady Red Devils than now in the postseason.

The Region 1A championship Saturday night on the No. 1 seeded Lady Red Devils' home floor was more like a formality than a title bout with No. 2 seed Seminole County, which found itself on the wrong side of an 80-33 romp in front of a large crowd that delighted in the talents of Super 6er Destiny Mitchell.

Just look at that second quarter run -- the one when Randolph-Clay ripped off a 22-0 sprint that left Seminole in a 40-6 hole and left no doubt who would win this title.

There was Mitchell with a play that says as much about her talent -- and the night -- as any. It was still early in the second quarter and she had just blocked her fourth shot of the night, sending Randolph-Clay off to another fastbreak basket.

Then Mitchell followed that play with a steal and a coast-to-coast drive that ended with Mitchell spinning and fading away, dropping in a 36-6 lead.

"That's my favorite play. I do that all the time,'' said Mitchell, who scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots. She did all that in less than three quarters. Typical stuff for Mitchell, a Herald Super 6er who is one of the best players in this part of the country.

But what makes Randolph-Clay so dangerous now is that -- unlike the beginning of the year when Mitchell was carrying almost the entire load -- these days, the Lady Red Devils are all joining in the fun.

"We're better now because more and more players are getting involved,'' Mitchell said. "We're more of a team. Before it was just me and Asha.''

That's Asha Alexander, who had her moments Saturday, scoring 16 before sitting down after three quarters. Randolph-Clay also a big game from Kanekia Washington, who ran the floor and finished with 12 points.

The Lady Red Devils ran all night.

They hope to run all the way to a state title -- the same state title that has eluded them for the last three seasons. Mitchell has been to the Final Four three years in a row, but has no ring to show for it.

"I want to go back to the Final Four and beyond this year,'' she said. "We're ready to make a run. It's playoff time, and we've got to do what we've got to do.''

Randolph-Clay has been to the Final Four seven of the last nine years, but hasn't won it all since 2000, but anyone who has seen this team play has to believe the Lady Red Devils have a chance.

"If they keep playing the way they have been playing lately, I think they do,'' said Seminole coach Jesse McLeod, whose team enters the state tournament next week as a No. 2 seed.

Seminole has lost to Randolph-Clay three times, and played a little short-handed Saturday. Star Carrie Washington rolled her ankle in the semifinals, but started Saturday's game. She picked up four fouls in the first half and was never a factor, scoring two points. Alexus Watson led Seminole with 14 points.

"We had five fouls in the first half, and she had four of them,'' McLeod said. "It's ironic. I guess she was the only one on the court. But give Randolph-Clay credit. They put it to us.''

The Lady Red Devils have been putting it to everyone. They are 24-3 and haven't lost a game since Jan. 9 (to Westover), reeling off an 11-game wining streak.

"The difference is everybody is playing together, and we're playing better defense,'' Randolph-Clay coach Jennifer Acree said. "Our defense is dictating our offense.''

And then there's always Mitchell, who is closing in on 2,500 points for her career.

"She's great,'' Acree said. "She's the best I've ever coached. I think we are ready to make a run. I know I'm ready."