Boys basketball team’s season reaches final stretch


A new year comes with new games for the Cypress Bay boys varsity basketball team, starting with a 65-52 victory against Somerset Academy on Jan. 5. Four days later, the team defeated the South Plantation Paladins at home 56-36. Head Coach Jason Looky was proud of the team’s consistent effort in those wins, though he said some improvements can be made.

“We still aren’t disciplined in our defense, but the effort has been really good.” Looky said, “The guys are sharing the ball really well.”

A day after the win against South Plantation, the Lightning faced the Hollywood HillsSpartans in the team’s first back-to-back games of the new year. Hollywood Hills was 4-5 and considered a “down” team by Looky, thus paving the way for additional players to see more playing time.

“It was a great game for us because we got to play a lot of guys,” Looky said. “We were able to bring guys in and out of the game and stay fresh.”

Cypress Bay won 65-37 and had six more days to rest until they faced the Everglades Gators. Unlike the previous two games, the Lightning fell behind early in the first half. The team also committed twelve turnovers in that time span, which more than doubles their average of nine turnovers a game.

“We already eclipsed our full amount of turnovers in the first half,” Looky said. “We weren’t playing very sharp.”

The second half was a different story for the Lightning as they took the lead behind improved shooting en route to a 65-54 victory. Sophomore guard Brandon Garcia saw his shots fall more in the final two quarters and ended the game with 17 points. However, Looky credited the comeback victory to the team’s changed mindset following halftime.

“They decided they wanted to be more engaged in the game and they didwhat they were supposed to do,” Looky said.  

On Jan. 18, just two days after beating Everglades, Cypress Bay evened the season series with its rivals, the Western Wildcats, with a 64-47 win. While he admitted the defense was not perfect, Looky was still impressed with the team’s improvements.

“We were much more aggressive in this game, both offensively and defensively,” Looky said. “We did take some chances that we probably weren’t supposed to, but a lot of time and effort overcomes mistakes and I thought we were more disciplined in our efforts.”

Junior Isiah Kirby finished the game with 23 points, but the highlight of the night came late in the second quarter when Kirby threw down a dunk over Western forward Jakai Linwood.                                                                                                                                     

“I was just angry; I was just mad,” Kirby said after the game.                                                                             

It was not Kirby’s first “poster” dunk of the season, and it would notbe his last, as he slammed down another dunk the following night in the Lightning’s 59-57 victory against Pembroke Pines Charter. Freshman Tristan Goldstein cited the team’s chemistry and mindset as the key reason for the team’s sixth-straight victory.

“The key was literally us all playing together,” Goldstein said. “Everyone did their job on both sides of the court and as long as we work together, we’re going to win every single time.”

Cypress Bay traveled to Piper High on Jan. 23 for the team’s final district game. It was a close game, but in the end, the Lightning came out victorious 51-44. In addition, the Bay clinched first place in the districts, and returning player and senior John Truske was happy at the chance to win another district title.

“It feels great,” Truske said. “Now, all we have to do is beat [South Plantation] to make regionals.”

The victory over Piper also extended Cypress Bay’s win streak to eight games, although it ended when the team lost to Miramar High on Jan. 25 by a score of 66-48. After the game, Coach Looky spoke to the team about being accountable for their actions.

“Don’t help others if they won’t help themselves,” Looky said. Looky also added that the remaining two games on the schedule should be used as preparation for the playoffs.

The second-to-last game of the regular season was a 66-57 victory for the Lightning against the South Broward Bulldogs on Jan. 29. It was also senior night, so Looky made sure to give the seniors some more playing time.

“We tried to make sure they got to play in the first quarter where there’s meaningful minutes,” Looky said. “I thought some guys did well. They all played to their potential.”

Five days later, the Lightning closed out its regular season with a 52-47 win over the Coconut Creek Cougars. The Bay finished the regular season with 16 wins and 7 losses, while also earning an invitation to the Big Eight Tournament, a tournament featuring the top eight teams in Broward County.

“It was one of the things we set on our list of things that we wanted to do,” Looky said. “It’s great to get back there with this team.”

The Lightning fell to the Blanche Ely Tigers 68-63 in the opening round of the Big Eight Tournament, and while some spectators complained about controversial calls from the referees. Looky told the team after the game that they played hard and if they continued to play like that, they could go far in the district playoffs.

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Athletes to Watch: Jack D’Avi

Freshman Jack D’Avi

When did you begin swimming and why?
I began swimming when I was in 5th grade. I had issues with other sports and I was told that I wasn’t allowed to play them anymore. The doctor said this was the only thing I could play.

What motivates you?
One of the things that keeps me motivated is my family. Everything I do when I get in the water is so that one day, I can be an Olympic swimmer with them screaming on the sidelines.

What is your favorite part about swimming?
The best part of swimming is the adrenaline. There’s nothing better than having a great swim and dropping time. Seeing the excitement on your coach’s face is a great sense of accomplishment.

What is your main goal in swimming?
My main goal is to swim for the University of Michigan and to go to the Olympics. Being on the Michigan swim team has been a dream since I could remember.

What is a challenge you face?
I’m really competitive. Not so much with my friends, but in the sport itself. I’m really hard on myself when I’m having a bad meet or when I don’t reach my goal time.

-Heather Dennis

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Varsity baseball team brings home Lightning win


On Saturday Oct. 28, the varsity baseball team faced the Boca High School Bobcats, in which the Lighting won with a final score of 9-4, increasing their record to 8-2-1.

“The game went well. I’m proud of our performance and that we were able to pull ourselves up,” sophomore outfielder Barrett Cruz said.

The players usually prefer games in later times of the day, but Cruz said he was excited for the game.

“Most of us prefer night time games as opposed to early morning games,” Cruz said. “We’re all tired and it takes a while for us to wake up and play to the best of our ability.”

Games take lots of preparation, and for the players, that means taking part in their own pre-game ritual.

“As part of my pre game ritual, I listen to Michael Jackson,” Cruz said. “It gets me in a good mood and helps me get into a game mentality.”

As for senior shortstop Jorge Julio, praying for success has been a consistent pre-game ritual.

“Before every game I sit down and pray,” Julio said. “I pray that we play good and to the best of our potential.”

The Lightning fell behind early in the game, in which it found itself down 3-1 during the second inning.

“The game started pretty rough,” Cruz said. “We were all tired and it really showed in the way we were playing.”

At the end of the second, the Lightning were still down.

“Once the third inning started, we realized we were getting lazy and needed to try harder if we really wanted to win,” Cruz said.

During the third inning, sophomore catcher Joaquin Monque said that despite his previous strike out, he was pleased to be at bat and record another hit.

“I could’ve done better by not striking out,” Monque said. “You can’t get a hit every time you’re at bat so it’s okay; it happens.”

The turning point occurred in the sixth inning, in which Julio hit a grand slam to put the Lightning on top.

“It was the bottom of the sixth inning and we were losing,” Julio said. “It was perfect timing, bases were loaded and we had two outs.”

Ending the game with a five-point lead, the Lightning were able to finish strong and pull out a win.

“We need to continue practicing for our next game so we can win against Coral Gables,” Monque said.

Cruz said he and his teammates look forward to continuing the season and hope for great success.

“I’m anxious to see how we finish the season,” Cruz said. “We put in countless hours of hard work, so it’d be really nice to see them pay off.”




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Athlete to Watch: Emmalee Forristall


Junior Emmalee Forristall


  1. When/why did you start playing lacrosse?

I first started playing lacrosse in 7th grade. At the time, I was playing hockey, and a friend of mine told me I should sign up for the Weston Warriors team to see if I liked the sport. I was hooked. I think I loved it so much because it was more than just throwing the ball around. There is a lot of strategy and planning that goes into games, which is one of my favorite parts of preparing for game days.

  1. What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in lacrosse?

The biggest challenge that I have ever overcome would be blowing out my knee my freshman year. I was in a wheelchair for two months followed by four months of physical therapy just so that I could get back on the field and start conditioning with my teammates. It was so gratifying to make a full recovery and then on top of that have a breakout sophomore year that helped carry us to Districts.

  1. What motivates you to continue playing lacrosse?

What motivates me to play is that I love playing so much and I can’t imagine my life without it. I grew up in an extremely competitive and sports oriented house, and my younger brother has always pushed me to be a better athlete and better lacrosse player.


  1. What advice can you give to girls who want to start playing lacrosse?

I would tell anyone who wants to play that they should for sure try out. It really is the best sport to play and it is an opportunity to make new friends and also[to] play a sport that is really going to challenge you.


  1. What is your best memory from lacrosse?

My favorite memory from lacrosse would probably be scoring the overtime game-winning goal in a huge rivalry game against Cooper City to qualify us for the playoffs, my sophomore year. We ended up tying the score with 25 seconds left in the second half. We went into overtime and I won the draw. One of my teammates got the ball and I headed down the field, caught a pass and shot. That was probably one of my favorite moments of that season and of my lacrosse career.


-Estela Suarez


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Girls soccer team holds tryouts for new season




The Lightning girls varsity soccer team held its tryouts on Oct.16 andOct.17 at Vista Park.Mariana Mazzocca, junior midfield player, said the team is looking to create a well-rounded and versatile roster in order to bring home a future state championship.

“We lost a lot of really talented seniors last year from all different positions,” Mazzocca said. “I think we’re mainly looking for players who are versatile and are able to adapt to uncomfortable positions.”

During tryouts, prospects had to fill out paperwork online beforehand to become eligible for tryouts. Following the paperwork, the potential players warm up and compete in scrimmages to qualify for a spot on the team.

“Tryouts are mainly for junior varsity (JV) players, because usually all the returning players are on varsity again,” Mazzocca said.

Although last year’s team failed to reach past the regional finals, the team is optimistic and is focusing towards its goal of securing a spot in the final four this season.

“We are hoping to get past the regional finals this year, which is where our season ended the past two years,” junior forward Samantha Texiara said. “We are also hoping to bond more as a team and create a comfortable environment for all of the players.”

Along with the team’s overall goals this season, individual team members are also setting personal goals to further improve their mentality and spirit.

“My personal goal for the upcoming season is to take as many shots as I can and help my team get to the final four,” Texiara said. “Getting to the final four would be a huge deal.”

The coaches said they are looking for determined, spirited, and hardworking prospects during tryouts.

“We had over 50 players come and tryout for the team,” Texiara said. “Coach Gordon and Coach Dwyer watch us play to see who catches their eye the most.”

According to Texiara, the experience of being apart of the school soccer team creates bonds and memories that last for years.

“Although we love to win, we also focus on bonding as a team and having fun playing the sport we love,” Texiara said. “The camaraderie between the girls is truly what I look forward to everyday at practice,” Mazzocca said.

The Lightning is striving towards its goal of making it to the state championship by practicing and emphasizing teamwork and chemistry.

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Boys Lacrosse Miguel Maldonado Q&A


  1. What do you want to change from last season?

I would like for our team to have more players. Last year, we had only one new player join the team, and it was difficult for the starters to come off the field to rest and hydrate. With more players on the team we can also train younger players to be starters for future seasons.


  1. Do you want to play in college? Why?

I want to play in college because playing at a collegiate level would help me increase my skills as a goalie and improving my status as a lacrosse player. Being a part of a team creates bonds and connections that I will never forget.


  1. What is your main goal for the team?

My main goal for the team is to have a better record than last year. I always want our team to improve every season to make sure our lacrosse team is getting better. I also want to make sure I leave a mark on players who will be playing next year to make sure our team improves.

  1. What have you learned from being part of the team?

I’ve learned to never give up. It’s not only about working hard for yourself, but also for your teammates. My team relies on me as a goalie to always be prepared and to be aware of my surroundings.


  1. What is your routine to stay hydrated throughout the game?

Since I play goalie, I often drink water when the ball is on the other half of the field. I hydrate before the game as well, and eat healthy.

  1. When did you start playing lacrosse?

I started playing lacrosse in 6th grade. I had previously bought a stick and decided to wall ball in my backyard. I tried out for a travel team and became a goalie.


  1. What has been your favorite memory while on the team?

Winning districts my freshman year has been my favorite memory while being on the team. The feeling of having all the hard work pay off is a great feeling.


  1. What motivates you to play?

The opportunity to win a game motivates me throughout the season. The rush and adrenaline I get while playing also pushes me to become a better lacrosse player for myself and my team.


  1. What has been your biggest challenge playing lacrosse?

The biggest challenge of playing lacrosse is switching positions. I used to be on the offensive side, but I recently switched to the defensive side to become a goalie. Both positions require hard work and dedication, but they come with two different atmospheres.


  1. What is the best advice you have received for lacrosse?

The best advice I have received for lacrosse is to stay focused and not get frustrated. As a goalie, you often feel that the pressure is on you to win the game by preventing the opposition from scoring. I have realized that sports are a team effort, and doing your best is all that matters.


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Water polo team prepares for new season


With boys water polo tryouts scheduled for Jan. 20, many players are preparing to try and make the team. For most of the prospects, this is their first time trying out for water polo at the Bay. Sophomore Isaac Paiz said he is looking forward to trying out for the team.

“I have not played on the Cypress Bay team yet; however, from talking to the coaches last year and this year, I feel that they truly care about the sport and want to make the team better,” Paiz said. “It helps to keep me motivated, and it pushes me to get better and make the team this year.”

Despite not being on the team last year, Paiz said he is confident he can earn a spot on the varsity team after extending his practices and intensifying his drills.

“I am currently a competitive swimmer, so I go to practice almost every day of the week,” Paiz said. “On top of that, I go to the gym a couple of times a week to gain strength that is useful in water polo.”

Junior varsity teams usually consist of freshmen and sophomores, whereas varsity tends to feature juniors and seniors. Despite being a sophomore, Paiz said he has a good chance of making the varsity team.“I am a strong swimmer, and I have a lot of endurance and speed when it comes to playing water polo,” Paiz said. “I also have a pretty good understanding of the positions in the game and how you’re supposed to play [the game].”

Paiz said some of the water polo players hope to make the varsity team not just to play the sport they love, but also to make an impression on college scouts. If the scouts see these players play, they could hand out scholarships to the players.

“I think that there is definitely a chance to get a scholarship or go pro through playing for the Cypress Bay team due to exposure to college scouts,” Paiz said. “However, it is not being on the team that will get you there; it is your ability to play that will.”

Like Paiz, junior Juan Chinchilla is using practice routines to try and guarantee a spot on the team. In preparation for tryouts, Chinchilla utilizes training methods that are predominantly used by swimmers. One routine is the 1500-meter training method, which consists of a 400-meter warm-up, 4×1100 gradual sprints, 100-meter gradual sprints and 4×100 gradual sprints again treading.

“This helps you learn how to pace yourself and how to swim faster,” Chinchilla said.

Throughout his training, Chinchilla has played with some former water polo players from the Bay.

“I am training now with a lot of the players from [last year’s team], so if I make the team, it will be more enjoyable because they will know me better,” Chinchilla said. “I want to play for a sport that’s from my school so I can play a sport that a lot of my friends are playing.”




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Coach Held Story

Wrestling head coach receives hall of fame honors


The Bay’s legendary wrestling coach, Allen Held, was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Aug. 12. The Hall of Fame honor is perhaps the greatest recognition possible for a man who has coached, and consistently won, for over 27 years. Induction into the prestigious group is the highest honor there is for high school athletics coaches in Florida.

“I was excited and honored to be inducted,” Coach Held said. “It meant a lot being voted in by the Hall of Fame Committee.”

Coach Held’s induction undoubtedly shines a spotlight on wrestling at the Bay and the athletics department as a whole. It’s incredibly rare to have a Hall of Fame inductee as the active head coach. While Coach Held remains humble and maintains that he never coached for personal recognition, he does admit that his recent accolade could be a big help to the Lightning wrestling team.

“It brings some needed recognition to the program,” Coach Held said. “The wrestlers at Cypress Bay work hard and are [in] one of the best programs in the state but at times are under appreciated by those that don’t know.”

Coach Held was not the only one who felt that this honor is beneficial to the Bay. Senior wrestler, Zach Brill feels that his induction gives the team an added edge going into this season.

“I think his recognition brings a lot of respect to Cypress Bay,” Brill said, “and shows that even as a public school we can have the best coaches around.”

The Florida wrestling community is not the only group that has been paying attention to Coach Held’s achievement. The entire Cypress Bay athletics community was put on notice of Coach Held’s induction when he was honored pre-game at the Lightning’s first home football game. Athletic director, Scott Selvidge, coordinated the small ceremony before the football game.

“I am very proud that we have a Hall of Fame member at our school and representing our athletic department,” Mr. Selvidge said. “He is a true demonstration of what hard work can accomplish.”

Mr. Selvidge, having worked with Coach Held in multiple capacities during his time at the Bay, both as a fellow head coach and as the athletic director, had nothing but positive sentiments for Coach Held.

“He [Coach Held] came here with a mission to put the Cypress Bay wrestling program on the map and has certainly done that,” Mr. Selvidge said. “I believe Coach Held is a terrific role model and motivator for our student-athletes. We are fortunate to have him.”

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New girls lacrosse helmet creates controversy


As the lacrosse season inches closer to its first game, the girls lacrosse team has started to prepare for the upcoming season in January, but a new rule can change the way high school lacrosse is played forever; the new The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) regulation for Florida girls lacrosse players asks players to comply with the new requirements for helmets.

FHSAA has decided that beginning in the 2018 season, all female lacrosse players will be required to wear a helmet during games. Florida is the only state to have required these helmets, which may lead to a change in the sport’s popularity as the season plays out.

The basic equipment requirements for high school players are mouth guards and helmets, which will have padded goggles attached to the interior of the helmet. Previously, players needed to wear padded goggles and a concussion band placed above the goggles.

“I do not think helmets will make a big difference,” senior goalie Melanie Louis said. “The rule has been put in place to help the players of this game have less injuries, since concussions are extremely common.”

Multiple players have shown their concerns about the potential for the rule to create a less harmful perception of the sport, which may cause the referee to call less fouls during the game.

“Not that it happens often, but if a player should accidentally get hit in the head with a stick, there is an immediate reaction by the player being hit,” Head Coach Corey Engelhard said. “By wearing helmets, there may be no reaction. The whistle may not get blown because the referee is unaware of the contact being made, inherently making the game more dangerous.”

Players have also communicated concern dealing with the possibility of helmets affecting their vision during the game.

“I am not the biggest fan of the helmets, I think they might hurt some of the vision aspect of the game and the importance of being able to keep your head on a swivel,” senior attacker Emmalee Forristall said. “The helmet may cause players to not see as far since you cannot adjust the goggles, and you maybe cannot see from the edge of your eyes.”

State athletic associations can make their own decisions on more equipment such as the FHSAA in creating the requirement for extra protection. From first requiring special padded goggles, to a special concussion bands, and now to helmets, this game has come a long way for keeping the players as safe as possible.

The debate is whether these helmets will benefit players in the game or can create problems. The main priority is to make sure these players stay safe and healthy, even if it causes the game to be harder to participate in than ever before. Even if the helmets cause more problems than they resolve, the team is prepared for anything that may come with being required to use these helmets this season.

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Girls basketball team prepares for season



The Girls Varsity Basketball team’s season is right around the corner, in which it has already begun pre-season practices and workouts. The players have set high goals and expectations for their upcoming season, which include overcoming last year’s district final loss.

“My goal for this season is to have my team playing together, in sync, and for one another,” Coach Tocarra Williams said. “When those things happen, I will be satisfied with whatever the outcome may be.”

It is Coach Tocarra’s first year coaching at the Bay and the players are excited to see what she will bring to the table.

“Coach Williams will help shape the team’s dynamic in a very positive way because she has played at the highest level, and she knows the work we need to put in to make it to the top,” sophomore Jada Haywood said. “She motivates the whole team to work hard and leave everything we have on the court.”

Senior Floortje Justens is on the same page as her coach when it comes to teamwork.

“If we work as a team, I know we can overcome any battle we face,” Justens said. After all, basketball is a team sport and you can’t win with just one person.”

The team recognized their weaknesses and is currently working to improve and become strong in every aspect of the game after its loss in districts last year.

“The whole team has been putting in a tremendous amount of work since the season ended last year, so it will be fun to see all our hard work pay off during the season,” Haywood said.

Coach Tocarra expressed her desire for her players to strive to be the best, and to never leave the court without giving it their all.

“Where I see the biggest room for improvement is leadership and accountability amongst the players,” Tocarra said. “In order for us to get better in those areas, I will put players in situations where they not only have to hold themselves accountable, but also hold their teammates accountable.”

   The players have also expressed enthusiasm and their constant enjoyment while playing for the team.

“I am most excited for game days because the whole energy and vibes of our games is the reason I love to play,” Haywood said.

Justens is interested in making a lasting impact on the girls basketball program before she graduates, and is planning on being a leader on and off the court to help her team seal a spot in regionals.

“I hope to show the younger freshmen and sophomores that if they put in the effort they can win districts, regionals, and we

can go far together,” Justens said.

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