Lynwood Girls End Foe's 101-Game Winning Streak

As far as win streaks go, the one that Ribault High of Jacksonville, Fla., took into a girls basketball game last Saturday at Lynwood was not that great in the De La Salle-tinged world we inhabit in California. But anything with three digits involved is very impressive and the streak has been big news in the northeast corner of Florida for more than a year.

Ribault, which has won four straight Florida Class 2A titles, had been eyeing Lynwood for many months, really ever since December of 2001 when the two teams won the top two divisions at the Nike TOC in Arizona. Ribault won the top division and completed an unbeaten season. Lynwood won the second division (which isn't that much weaker than the first), then played a much more difficult schedule the rest of the season. That's why it was the Californians who were No. 1 in the Student Sports FAB 50 national rankings and why Ribault had to settle for No. 2.

The two coast-to-coast combatants were supposed to play on the same night as the CIF Southern Section Div. I football championship, but Ribault rescheduled due to funding problems. A local newspaper then stepped in and helped the girls make the trip last weekend.

It turned out to be more like a trip-and-fall for Ribault than a trip. Lynwood forced 24 turnovers, controlled both the offensive and defensive glass, and came out with a convincing 79-57 victory. Ribault thus went home with a loss instead of a 102-game winning streak. The win streak is a state record in Florida for boys and girls teams combined.

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood led the Knights with 22 points and Kameca Simmons added 19. Brandi Kimble played well for Lynwood, too, and had 16. For Ribault, Florida State-bound Dorian Williams pumped in 24 and guard Erica White had 12, but no other Lady Trojan scored more than six.

"If we had played on a neutral court of if we had played in Jacksonville, maybe it would have been different," Ribault coach Alfred Austin told the Jacksonville Times-Union. "They dominated us on the boards and we made it tough on ourselves because we didn't play any defense."

Combined with a loss last week by Christ The King of New York, which won this year's top division at the Nike TOC, the win by Lynwood could help it climb back on top of the national rankings. The Knights still have to navigate the choppy waters of the regional and state Div. I playoffs and the team they lost to in Arizona, Canyon of Texas, needs to get upset. There's no doubt, though, that if Lynwood had lost to Ribault last week that any chance at all of being No. 1 in the nation again would have been out the door.

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