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Tampa Baptist, Seminole Pres. to meet

The Rams edge Indian Rocks and the Lancers rout Bayshore. The teams will face off Saturday for the championship.

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 6, 2002

TAMPA -- Free-throw shooting proved to be Indian Rocks Christian's downfall Tuesday as Tampa Baptist knocked off the second-seeded Golden Eagles 69-66 in the semifinals.

Trailing 67-66 with 51 seconds to play in the game, Indian Rocks sent leading scorer Gabby Gattuso to the line for two shots. Gattuso, who finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds, missed both. The Rams' Natalie Alvarez then sank two free throws with 21 seconds remaining to finish off the Golden Eagles' season.

As dominating as Gattuso was, Tampa Baptist had an answer in the form of Marissa Davenport. Davenport led all scorers with 32 points and chipped in nine rebounds.

"I knew it was either you make it or you don't," Davenport said. "Tonight was do or die.

"I put my all into it and played with my heart."

Indian Rocks controlled the game early, claiming a 25-15 lead in the second quarter, but a 7-0 run by Tampa Baptist put the Rams back in the contest.

After that, neither team would lead by more than three. In the second semifinal, Seminole Presbyterian's stifling defense held host Bayshore Christian to two points in the first quarter and the Lancers coasted to a 57-33 victory.

With lanky 6-foot-3 Elizabeth Brown guarding the post, Seminole, the No. 10 team in Class A, was free to use its fullcourt press against the Faith Warriors. The attack led to numerous fastbreaks for the Lancers (27-5).

The Faith Warriors (19-12) scored five points in the first and third quarters.

Meghann McNiff paced the Lancers with 17 points and Amanda Heisserer topped Bayshore with 14.

Seminole Presbyterian moves on to face Tampa Baptist on Saturday in the final.

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