By Jeff Odom
One of the centerpieces in the Academy at the Lakes girls basketball team’s run to the Class 2A state championship game has finally made her college decision.
Wildcats forward Tatiana Manuel opted to stay close to home by signing with Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville on July 6 over interest from other programs including University of South Florida, Webber International and College of Charleston in South Carolina, according to AATL athletic director Tom Haslam.
Manuel, who transferred to AATL from Brooks-DeBartolo after her junior year, was a defensive headache for opponents and a scoring machine for the Wildcats last season, earning The Laker/Lutz News Girls Basketball Offensive Player of the Year honor for her efforts on the court.
The 6-foot-2 Manuel led AATL in scoring with more than 15.6 points per game. She also averaged 9.2 rebounds and 5.8 blocks respectively.
Manuel’s best performance of the season came at a pivotal time for the Wildcats as she exploded for a team-high 27 points in AATL’s 65-24 rout of Sheridan Hills Christian in the state semifinals. The Wildcats, however, came up short for the second consecutive season against FAMU High in the title game.
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