Buchholz's Thomas wins Miss Basketball


Buchholz's Jessica Thomas is congratulated by her teammates as she comes out of the game with the Bobcats well in the lead of the Class 7A State Championship against Nova at the Lakeland Center, in Lakeland, on Feb. 23. The Bobcats walked away with a 63-49 win to take home their first girls basketball state title.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.

Jessica Thomas, who led Buchholz to its first state title in high school girls basketball, was named Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Basketball on Tuesday.

Thomas, the Class 7A Player of the Year who signed with Miami before the season, averaged 30 points, seven assists and four steals per game in the Bobcats' most successful year in girls basketball. She scored 26 points in the state final win over Davie Nova (63-49) and had 38 in a 79-73 triumph over Tampa Freedom in the state semifinals.



“This is truly a blessing,” Thomas texted. “I'm ecstatic and shocked because I have goals, but the main one was to win state. I never would have imagined all of this.”

Thomas was the only returning starter from last year's state tournament team, ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season but fell in the state semifinals to Haines City. It marked the second straight year the Bobcats finished short of the state finals.

That all changed this year, with the 5-foot-7 point guard leading the way, as Buchholz went 28-4 en route to a state championship.

Her most memorable game came in the 7A regional finals at Viera, where Thomas, fouled with 2.1 seconds left during a 3-point attempt, hit all three free throws to force overtime. She finished with 47 points in a 84-79 overtime win.

Florida signee Ronni Williams of Orange Park Atlantic finished second in balloting for Miss Basketball. Thomas had 180 points, compared to Williams' 161. Orlando Dr. Phillips' Sydnei McCaskill came in third (126).

Buchholz coach Rebecca Williams finished fourth in balloting for coach of the year. Marcia Pinder of 5A champion Fort Lauderdale Dillard won for the fourth straight year.

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