Lady Spartans’ season ends without key player

The girls’ basketball team lost before advancing to states.



Senior Ta’Nauviyon Williams drops back on the Lakewood basketball court on Feb.11 to help her team defend against Atlantic High School. Williams is known as a high-scorer on the team and was unable to play in a key game after a two-game suspension.


The Lakewood girls’ basketball team ended the season with a 38-30 loss to Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce on Feb. 19, a game played without the benefit of their high scorer, senior Ta’Nauviyon Williams.

Overall, they had a winning record of 20-5, and according to coach Necole Tunsil, likely would be in the state championships but for the suspension of Williams during a previous game against Cocoa High School on Feb. 16.

“There’s no doubt in my mind if Nauvi had not been suspended, we would be practicing today or this week for an opportunity to win the state championship,” Tunsil said.

Williams’ suspension came during the home game against Cocoa when a girl on the opposing team slapped the ball out of Spartan Makayla Johnson’s hands, causing it to hit her in the face, Tunsil said.

“They were exchanging words. Nauvi came and pulled Makayla away from it and then the same player from Cocoa charged at Makayla and Nauvi and they ended up going face to face,” Tunsil said.

The referee called a technical foul, and fans from both Cocoa and Lakewood ran onto the court. The school resource officers removed from the gym everyone who came onto the floor, per the rules, but when Williams’ family members were being escorted out, the same Cocoa player approached them and began clapping in their faces, Tunsil said.

Tunsil said Williams said “was trying to secure the safety” of her grandmother, who wasn’t involved but who was leaving with the other family members.

“Nauvi ran across the court to stand in between the girl and her grandmother,” Tunsil said, and the referee ejected her from the game, which caused a two-game suspension.

“The other team was pushing and playing dirty; we’re not the team to play that way,” Williams said.

She said she wished she could have played in the Lincoln Park game.

“I should have played. I feel that it was unfair. I was the only one kicked out and they clapped in my face,” she said.

Despite the unsatisfactory ending, Tunsil said the team “overachieved” this year and should have no trouble ending up at states next year. She said she is looking forward to the eighth graders who will be joining the team.

“We had nine players (this year) that were totally committed and everyone at a different time in the season played out of their minds,” Tunsil said. “We’ll definitely be in Lakeland playing next year.”

Williams, however, who averaged 15 points a game, “20 on a good day,” was disappointed by the abrupt ending.

“They took away my first-time seeing states. I’ve never seen states,” she said. “That would have been a good opportunity for me.”