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The Windermere Prep girls basketball team ended the 2017-18 season in style, rallying for a come-from-behind victory …

The Windermere Prep girls basketball team ended the 2017-18 season in style, rallying for a come-from-behind victory over Mount Dora Christian in its regular season finale January 26.

The Lakers, who do not yet compete in the FHSAA State Series, overcame a 22-14 halftime deficit to score 34-29 win over the visiting Bulldogs. 

“It was definitely a team win — they did it together,” head coach Emmalee Schill said. “It was Senior Night, there were nerves, but they all came together.”

Radhika Parikh scored nine points to lead the Lakers, with eighth-grader Brielyn Knowles, a call-up from the Windermere Prep middle-school team, contributing six points — including five points in the fourth-quarter.

“It had me thinking why (Knowles) was playing middle-school basketball all year,” Schill laughed afterward. “She’s blown me away with how hard she works. We brought two other middle schoolers up that have a lot of potential.”

The victory, in what was the final game of the season for Windermere Prep, gave the Lakers a final record of 11–9 — a season after the team went 6-10 in coach Emmalee Schill’s first year. 

Reaching double-digits in wins is a first for the girls basketball program at Windermere Prep and an impressive feat for Schill, who is just two years removed from her playing career at Rollins College in Winter Park.

Through two seasons, the coaching newcomer says she is getting the hang of her role and has a better feel for what’s most important with a young, impressionable team.

“Just really staying positive with them — building them up,” Schill said.

The improvement for the Lakers can be chalked up to a number of factors, including the fact that there were no seniors on last year’s team.

“We had the whole group back and they just really came together this year,” Schill said. “There was just consistency and they put in a lot of work in the preseason and over the summer. It was consistent hard work.”

Schill and company will look to build upon this year’s progress, and she says she hopes to encourage more of the girls to play travel basketball in the offseason. With an eye on competing in the FHSAA State Series next year, it appear the Lakers have taken a big step forward.

“I think now that they having a winning season, they know they can win,” Schill said. “They now have a little more confidence.”

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