With its top two scorers held in check, St. Petersburg Catholic still finds a way to beat the Marauders 48-43.
By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002
ST. PETERSBURG -- For a quarter, Clearwater Central Catholic had its rival on the ropes, armed with an unorthodox approach to keeping St. Petersburg Catholic's top scorers off the scoreboard.
But when it comes to beating the Marauders, SPC simply finds a way. Thursday night, the Barons' supporting cast took care of the job. Lauren Dupont and Shannon Tapp combined for 25 points, well above their usual production, to lift SPC to a 48-43 Class 2A, District 12 win.
"We can't lose to them," Tapp said.
Early on, CCC's triangle-and-two defense put the bull's eye on Michie Hooks and Brett Stone, the Barons' top offensive forces. The two managed just five points in the first quarter as CCC jumped out to a 15-8 lead.
But the advantage didn't last, as Dupont and Tapp started taking advantage of the openings left in the Marauders' defense. Their 10 points in the second quarter spearheaded a 21-5 turnaround that gave SPC a comfortable 29-20 halftime lead.
"We knew we had to step up, since they were on Michie and Brett more," Tapp said. "I looked for my open shots."
CCC couldn't keep up as SPC ran away, committing eight turnovers and hitting just two of 11 shots in the second quarter.
"Their press took over and gave us the jitters (offensively), and we couldn't quite recover," CCC coach Jim McElhenny said. "The second quarter, that was honestly the ballgame."
CCC (8-5 overall, 2-2 in the district) made a run late in the third quarter, closing to 37-33. But SPC (11-6, 4-0) put together a 7-0 run on a jumper from Stone and a jumper and 3-pointer from Tapp, and a safe lead was restored.
With that lead, the Barons were content to play it close to the vest, as coach Nick Vandewalle kept an eye on February.
"We'll see them again, I'm sure. Us and them could go either way in the district when the tournament starts," Vandewalle said. "Got to have something to hide."
K.C. Ann Gavin had 16 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead CCC, and Tiffany Avril added 13. SPC also got seven points off the bench from Stephanie Spiewak.
CCC hasn't won the rivalry game since the 1996-97 season.
"It feels good, we've already beat them like three times this season (including preseason," Dupont said. "We can't wait to beat them at district."