The Marauders take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter, but fall 48-44 to the Barons.
By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 10, 2002
SARASOTA -- How cruel. Clearwater Central Catholic had to travel an hour out of town to play its county rival, only to suffer through deja vu all over again.
Twice this season, Clearwater Central Catholic gave St. Petersburg Catholic all it could handle, only to fall short 48-45 and 48-43.
Saturday night, the Marauders showed signs they were ready to knock off the long-superior Barons.
It didn't happen, but the script remained true to form as St. Petersburg Catholic won 48-44 at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.
Clearwater Central Catholic (14-8) held a 34-33 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, playing with emotion and resiliency through 10 lead changes. But St. Petersburg Catholic (19-9) went on a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth with five points from Michie Hooks and a layup from Lauren Dupont, and CCC was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
CCC got to within 42-39 with 2:06 left after a tough inside basket from leading scorer K.C. Ann Gavin (20 points), then moments later forced SPC into a turnover on the sideline near the Marauders' basket.
Shannon Wood drew a foul and had a chance to get CCC to within one, but missed two free throws. Going the other way, Stephanie Spiewak scored off a pass from Lauren Dupont, and SPC was up by five again with 1:08 left. CCC would get no closer until the last two seconds when the game was over.
"We just play hard and they play a little bit harder," CCC coach Jim McElhenny said. "It's very frustrating.
"You beat your head against a wall trying to think of something to do to beat them, and we haven't been able to do it yet."
The district title is SPC's fifth consecutive crown, and perhaps the least likely of coach Nick Vandewalle's tenure. Last year, he graduated three starters including Player of the Year Catherine Dupont, and the young team remaining was not a clear-cut favorite.
"We didn't just get it by default, we earned it," Vandewalle said.
-- JOHN SCHWARB
CLEARWATER -- For everything there is to say about Dominique Redding and her 37-point performance in Clearwater's 59-41 win over Largo, there's something to say about the rest of the team. The Tornadoes grabbed the trophy with a dominating third quarter by Redding, but it was Clearwater's balance that enabled her to shine.
"She gets a lot of credit, which is certainly more than due, but tonight was just a complete game by the team as a whole," Tornado coach Tom Shawneyfelt said.
Largo stayed with Clearwater point for point until midway through the second quarter when the Tornadoes started outrebounding the Packers. Clearwater grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, giving more opportunities to Redding, who scored 13 points in both the second and third quarters.
Largo was led by Shaneisha Walton, who scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. No other Tornado scored in double figures. Nicole Counts and Rachel Hammon combined for 6 assists, 4 steals, and 9 rebounds.
The teams traded the lead three times before the end of the first quarter. Clearwater closed out the first half with an 11-5 run to lead 27-19 at the break. Redding opened the third quarter hot, making 5 of 7 shots to help the Tornadoes to a commanding 47-25 lead after three quarters.
-- ERIC MUSKATEVC
SEMINOLE -- Boca Ciega held the lead at halftime, but Seminole's Jen Hansen and Beth Taylor controlled the second half to give the Warhawks a 58-48 victory and the district title.
"It was as if I coached two different teams tonight," Seminole coach Dave Swanson said. "We struggled in the first (quarter), but Taylor and Hansen really provided us with what we needed in the second."
Boca Ciega took a 21-20 lead into the half as Seminole struggled with its ball movement and focus.
In the second half, Seminole looked to better its passing and spread the ball around more. The Warhawks did just led by Taylor's 19 points. Hansen and Alli Fogle followed with 14 apiece.
"When halftime came, we knew the game wasn't over," Taylor said. "We knew we just needed to play as hard as we could and leave it all on the court."
Seminole outscored Boca Ciega 25-13 in the third quarter and built its lead to as high as 17 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Boca Ciega's Kelsey Rogiers-Jensen led the Pirates with 19 points.
"I think we really loosened up in the second half," Swanson said of his team's performance. "We knew we needed to up the intensity and try to make it more of a total team effort."
-- SAM STANTURF
BRADENTON -- Bradenton Southeast won its third consecutive title with an 80-34 romp against Lakewood.
The Spartans turned the ball over seven times before attempting their first shot. The Seminoles took advantage, building a quick 10-point lead.
Southeast took a 20-point lead into halftime and kicked up the defensive pressure another notch in the third quarter, holding Lakewood one point while scoring 36.
"We need the offense to do a state run," Southeast coach John Harder said. "But the defense is always a coach's dream. If you've got a good defense, the offense will take care of itself."
Southeast forward Depree Dowden scored a game-high 19 points. Crystal Barriner led the Spartans with 12 points.
-- ROVEN YAU
TAMPA -- Robinson's fullcourt press suppressed Tampa Catholic, holding the Crusaders scoreless in the first quarter as the Knights cruised to a 78-38 win.
Tampa Catholic (7-17) was unable to play catch-up after a 24-point deficit in the first quarter. Robinson (18-5) held a commanding 48-11 lead at halftime.
Johnessa Griffin led Robinson with 16 points. Felicia Walker added 14. Walker nailed back-to-back 3-pointers just before the half. In the third quarter, Tampa Catholic was able to put some points on the board with help from Kimberly Bushe, who led the team with 12. But it was too little too late as Robinson took a 66-23 lead into the fourth quarter and began to substitute freely.
"We don't win with only five players. It takes a whole team effort to get this far," Robinson coach Carl Green said. "We started with the fullcourt press to contain Tampa Catholic's scoring early."
-- ERICA A. LEONARD