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Leopards hang on, win 64-62

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 10, 2002


INVERNESS -- Talking before the district championship, Hernando coach Pete Lahey and Williston coach Robert Patterson agreed that the team playing better at the end would win.

INVERNESS -- Talking before the district championship, Hernando coach Pete Lahey and Williston coach Robert Patterson agreed that the team playing better at the end would win.

They couldn't have been more right.

With the game tied at 60, the Leopards scored four consecutive points, then forced a Williston turnover with 17.7 seconds left to slam the door shut on a 64-62 win.

Hernando (21-4) trailed by 10 points in the second quarter and 37-30 at the half, but rallied behind center Bernice Mosby (37 points) and guard Ellen Widboom (14 points), who hit one clutch basket after another.

"It was a tough game and I knew it would be," Lahey said.

Williston (19-8), which split the regular-season series with Hernando, was led by junior guard Dominique Coleman, who hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 35 points. Behind Coleman, the Red Devils controlled the tempo, not to the mention the scoreboard, in the first half.

"When we were in the locker room, Coach gave a speech," Widboom said. "He said that beating them was in us and that he knew we could do it."

Mosby was the star, but Widboom was the Leopards' unsung hero. After scoring two points in a semifinal win over Ocala West Port, the senior guard hit four 3-pointers. Her final long-range shot put Hernando ahead 58-53 with 5:48 left. Mosby scored twice down the stretch and the Leopards got another key bucket from sophomore Kara Bailey.

"It could have gone either way," Mosby said.

Hernando plays host to St. Augustine Nease on Thursday in a regional quarterfinal.

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