By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2002
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Thursday's district semifinals are set: No. 2 seed Land O'Lakes will play a rubber match against No. 3 seed Mitchell at 6 p.m., and top seed Ridgewood will take on No. 5 Hudson at 7:30. All of that was settled in Tuesday's opening rounds, as Hudson, Mitchell and Land O'Lakes all left the Ridgewood gym victorious.
The day started with Hudson's 44-36 win against No. 4 seed Tarpon Springs.
After an 11-11 first-quarter tie, the Cobras managed a 23-19 lead at the half. Jen Barrett scored 16 of her team-high 23 points in the first half and sank six 3-pointers in all.
The Cobras pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Spongers 15-7 and then holding off Tarpon Springs' brief 10-6 rally in the fourth. Tarah Marinelli scored eight of her 10 points in the second half for the Cobras (11-11) and Lauren Bislick had eight.
The Spongers (14-14) were led by Erika Siauciunas' 13 points, nine coming in the second half. Katherine Chapman added 12.
Mitchell defeated River Ridge 63-44 thanks to a 20-9 run in the second quarter that gave the Mustangs a 34-16 halftime lead. The Royal Knights kept it even in the second half, scoring 28 points to the Mustangs' 29. River Ridge (4-23) was led by senior guard Teresa Harris' 14 points.The third-leading scorer in school history also reached the 800-point plateau. Harris finished her career trying to dish out assists, passing up shots even as the final seconds ticked away.
Mitchell (19-7) was led by Moira Gustin's 16 points, 12 coming in the second half. Lacey Arens had 12 and Angela Dodd and Tiffany Bronson scored eight apiece.
Mustangs coach Steve Knobl said his team is ready for a third and final game against Land O'Lakes on Thursday.
"Our girls are fired up," he said. "We felt we played them pretty good in our first meeting, but in our second we just had a complete meltdown, both mentally and physically."
In the final game, Land O'Lakes (20-4) rolled to a 62-35 win against Gulf (0-23).
The Gators started slow and the Bucs played tenacious defense to keep the lead to just 12-5 in the first quarter and 26-15 at halftime. But Land O'Lakes was soon running and gunning in the second half, outscoring Gulf 36-20.
Brandy Thomas led the Bucs with 10 points and Amy Gunderson had eight, sinking two 3-pointers. The Gators forgoed their usual substitutions and put everyone on the court, and they all scored. Alison Foster led with 10 points, and Rachel Rogala and April Slate had eight apiece.
"(We) were cold," Land O'Lakes coach Greg Robinson said.
"They were cold. We haven't played since Tuesday and it showed."
Ridgewood (22-5) had the bye. The 4A-8 final is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
-- JAMAL THALJI
INVERNESS -- Casandra Vega had it all right in front of her.
Make one of two free throws and Crystal River and Ocala West Port go to overtime. Make them both and her Pirates win.
Vega made neither, giving the Wolf Pack (11-15) a 47-46 victory and sending them into Thursday's semifinal against top-seeded Hernando.
"We talked about having poise and composure," Crystal River coach Norris Lightsey said. "And we had moments out there where we lost it and made mistakes. In a district tournament, you can't make mistakes."
The final play was an especially cruel way for Crystal River to go out. The Pirates (7-18) controlled the game for the first two quarters and led 23-16 at the half on nine first-half points from Vega, who led all scorers with 19 and chipped in three steals.
But Crystal River came unglued in the third quarter, obliging the Wolf Pack with turnovers and plenty of missed shots.
West Port stormed back behind 15 second-half points from Kaylor McBride and trailed by just one after three quarters. The teams traded the lead for much of the fourth period before McBride drove the lane, picked up a foul and hit one of two from the line with five seconds to play. Vega drove the length of the floor and picked up a foul on the next possession, but couldn't convert.
The second semifinal wasn't as dramatic as Citrus jumped out to a 10-0 lead and held on for a 52-35 victory against Dunnellon. The Hurricanes (16-7) will face second seed Williston on Thursday at 7 p.m. Dunnellon (3-19) was no match for the Hurricanes. Citrus' largest lead was 19 points and never led by less than nine. Katie Steelfox led all scorers with 17 points and chipped in a game-high seven steals and seven assists. Center Meaggen Anderson contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Alycia LePage had eight points and six assists.
Citrus led 12-3 after one quarter and was unable to stretch that lead in the second despite eight points from Steelfox.
The Hurricanes became limited in the paint when forward Brittney Doyle picked up three early fouls. Dunnellon was then able to control the boards and put back enough misses to keep Citrus within striking distance.
That trend continued throughout the third quarter as Citrus would pull away only to have the Tigers claw their way back. That ended when the Hurricanes began the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run and put the game out of reach.
-- CAREY FREEMAN
WESLEY CHAPEL -- Leading 44-32 with 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Wesley Chapel seemed poised to win its first district game in its three-year history Tuesday. However, Mulberry's fullcourt press started paying dividends as the Panthers outscored the Wildcats 34-11 in the final 8:59.
Mulberry's 66-55 win earned the Panthers a semifinal game with top seed Bartow on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Wesley Chapel (3-20) took control early in the second quarter as Mulberry struggled from the field. Brenna Lane scored 14 of her 19 points in the first half, helping the Wildcats to a 29-24 lead.
Mulberry (11-13) fell behind as leading scorer Ciara Kennon hit two of 12 shots in the first half.
However, Kennon caught fire in the second half, scoring 22 of her game-high 27 points. She also added seven steals and six rebounds.
"She can do it all," Mulberry coach Don Tammen said.
"They were letting her drive. She can hit from all over. She's super."
Kennon led a Mulberry press that forced seven turnovers in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.
"We've seen them two times and the kids just failed to adjust," Wesley Chapel coach Shelley Carrino said.
"We tried to run about three different press breaks but we just got crazy with the ball."
The Panthers also dominated on the boards as Daniele Henry grabbed 18 rebounds. Henry had 11 of Mulberry's 20 offensive rebounds.
-- WAYNE GRUMET
ORLANDO -- Danielle Albury scored 20 points and hauled in 21 rebounds to lead Seven Rivers Christian to a 50-32 victory against Orlando Faith Christian in the second round of district tournament play.
Albury also chipped in five steals and five blocked shots. Lacey Lyons scored 8 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had 3 steals and 3 blocks.
Kristen Cortese had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists.
-- TIMES STAFF
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