The freshman for Wekiva scored a game-high 22 points in the regional semifinals of the Class 9A State Playoffs.
APOPKA Wekiva freshman Emmy James poured in a game-high 22 points and the Mustangs girls basketball team held off the visiting West Orange Warriors in the regional semifinals of the FHSAA Class 9A State Playoffs, 53-42.
James scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half, fueling Wekiva (22-7) as it pulled away from the Warriors (21-8).
"She's got the heart of a lion," Mustangs head coach Tommie Butts said of the standout freshman. "When the game comes down to crunch time, I'm telling (James) to be a closer — and she's starting to be that."
Wekiva trailed in every quarter but the fourth, where the Mustangs were able to pull away and earn a third trip to the regional finals in four years.
"I told the girls 'just keep fighting,'" Butts said. "All season we've talked about adversity and resiliency."
Morgan Beacham scored a team-high 16 points for the Warriors, to pair with six rebounds.
West Orange ends the season with a promising young nucleus, though it remains unclear how many players will be with the program in the fall when Windermere High opens.
"It's extremely hard (to beat a team three times in one season) — my hat tips to West Orange."
For Wekiva, which will now prepare to host Spruce Creek at 7 p.m. Friday, the Mustangs are just relieved to have defeated the rival Warriors for a third time in four tries this season.
"It's extremely hard (to beat a team three times in one season) — my hat tips to West Orange," Butts said. "Our girls really executed, played hard and they really wanted it."
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