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Another tough test? Hardly

Clearwater topples Orlando Boone, the 10th-ranked team in Class 6A, 61-33.

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 4, 2002

SARASOTA -- Undefeated Clearwater insisted this wasn't just another blowout. The opponent was ranked and from a bigger classification. A halftime adjustment was required to get things really going. Heck, the Tornadoes even trailed for a few moments.

Okay, girls. If you say so.

Friday night, in the Karp Classic quarterfinals at Sarasota High, Clearwater, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, expected a decent test from Orlando Boone, the No. 10 team in 6A. It turned out to be more like a pop quiz -- a cause for brief panic but nothing more.

The Tornadoes won 61-33, advancing to tonight's semifinal at 7 against Miami Senior, the No. 2 team in 6A.

Clearwater (15-0) trailed by two points in the first quarter and led by 10 at the half before pounding the ball inside to star forward Dominique Redding early in the second half and pulling away.

"This was actually a good game for us," Tornadoes senior Kasie Muchler said. "It tests our ability and shows where we stand."

For the first 10 minutes, it was a contest.

Boone got some penetration on offense and Clearwater hit just one of six 3-point attempts against the Braves' zone defense.

But like every Tornadoes opponent to date, the Braves faded.

Clearwater went on an 11-2 run the last 5 minutes, 11 seconds of the first half, as Boone failed to hit a field goal. At the start of the second half, Redding got going in the paint, hitting three baskets and two free throws after a foul inside.

"We told them (to feed Redding) a little earlier than halftime, but they started hearing it at halftime," Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said.

Redding scored 14 in the quarter and 33 for the game, and her inside presence helped free up the perimeter for 3-pointers from Muchler and Anisha Turman. In fact, a trey by Turman completed a 26-5 run in the quarter.

Frustrated Boone (13-3) emptied its bench midway through the third quarter, replacing all five starters.

The reserves outscored the starters 3-2.

As usual, Clearwater enjoyed solid production from its bench. Four players combined for 16 points.

Boone got scoring from just six players, and none hit double figures.

"Depth was the biggest difference in the game," Shaneyfelt said. "They have a nice team, but I don't think they quite have the depth."

The game marked the second lopsided win in as many days for the Tornadoes, who beat Cocoa Beach 79-23 in the first round of the tournament. Clearwater hit eight 3-pointers and jumped out to a 19-2 first-quarter lead in that game.

"We know each game in this tournament is going to get a little tougher, we can't worry about not getting tested," Shaneyfelt said. "We just have to come out and get after it."

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