The Hornets slow down Bernice Mosby in the second half and end Hernando's season.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 2002
BROOKSVILLE -- Orlando Bishop Moore was bruised, but not beaten.
Knocked down four times with injuries, the Hornets got off the floor to beat Hernando 39-31 in the regional final Saturday at Imhoff Gymnasium.
Bishop Moore (25-6), which lost to Sumter in the regional final last season, clinched its first state semifinals berth. The Hornets will play Fort Myers Bishop Verot on Wednesday at the Lakeland Center.
"I'm just glad we played as a team," Bishop Moore's Amber Stoney said. "Everybody came through and played together."
Hernando (22-5), trying for its second final four appearance in four seasons, lost in the regional final for the second consecutive year. The Leopards fell to Titusville Astronaut last season.
The game ended the prep careers of Hernando seniors Bernice Mosby, Ellen Widboom and Jackie Matherly. Mosby, who has signed with Florida, leaves as the only 2,000-point scorer in team history.
"We'll miss them," first-year Hernando coach Pete Lahey said. "They're good players. They played hard. Everybody played hard tonight."
There was no better example than the three Bishop Moore players who went down with injuries.
Vallerie Muller left in the first quarter with a knee injury, Tina Pagan injured her hand in the fourth and Stoney went down twice -- once after being elbowed in the groin and again after an elbow opened a cut below her right eye.
But the Hornets kept battling.
"You've got to go," said Stoney, who blocked a Mosby shot with Bishop Moore leading by four and 1 minute, 36 seconds remaining. "It's much sweeter. It doesn't hurt as bad when you win."
Mosby finished with game highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds. She scored all 18 of Hernando's first-half points as the Leopards clung to an 18-16 lead.
But Bishop Moore held Mosby to just five second-half points, using a matchup zone to push her off the block and force her to work for her shots.
"It looked like they had a couple of girls on her at all times," Lahey said. "It wasn't just one. It was two or three."
Mosby's bank shot with 7:02 remaining tied the game at 29, but Bishop Moore outscored Hernando 10-2 the rest of the way to win.
Eight players scored for the Hornets, led by Melanie Aguia and Sarah Hoffman with seven. Stoney and Natalie Wilmers had six each.