Mooney girls team ends season with impressive record

Every player who participates in a team sport dreams of finishing a season with a win, this often means a championship and glory. For the team that falls in the last game of the season, there is the disappointment of what could have been.

For the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougar Girls Basketball Team, the last four seasons have ended in the Florida State High School Athletic Association 3A State Championship Game. Each game was a heartbreaking loss.

The Cougars from Sarasota fell to Miami Country Day 75-51 on March 1, 2024, at RP Funding Arena in Lakeland. Mooney was seeking its first state title while Country Day earned its 9th, and third in 4 years over Mooney.

Cardinal Mooney’s defeat signaled the end of their 14-game winning streak.The Cougar girls defeated Seffner Christian High School 66-52 on Feb. 28, to earn their trip to the state title game.

Mooney was led by two junior stars, Kali Barrett (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Sy’Monique Simon (11 points and 9 rebounds), as well as a huge contribution from freshman Madi Mignery (11 points and 14 rebounds). Sam Kotasek, the only senior on the team, had 11 points.

After the game, Sy’Monique said the team thrived through adversity and made the journey from the Suncoast all the way up to Lakeland. “This was our final goal, this is where we wanted to be… Every day we were fighting in practice to get here, and we did it.”

Barrett reached a milestone on the court with her 1,000th career point on Jan. 30.

Prior to the trip to the championship games, the teams took part in a rally at the school before being cheered on by students at neighboring St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy. A large group of supporters also travelled to Lakeland for the game.

While the Cougars finish the season with a loss, their 22-7 record was impressive, as was this fourth run at a state title.