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Durant gets last shot to defend county's honor

The Cougars roll to a matchup against Kennesaw Mountain, which defeats its third Hillsborough team.

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 29, 2002

TAMPA -- Durant will try to do Monday what no other county team has done yet: slow down Kennesaw Mountain.

The Cougars cruised to a 54-37 victory against St. Petersburg Catholic on Saturday and will meet the Mustangs, a Class 6A team from Georgia, at 8 p.m. Monday in the final of the Keeler Memorial Tournament at Academy of the Holy Names.

DeShaydia Mackey was all Durant (11-2) needed in the first half, outscoring SPC by herself 15-12. The junior scored 18 overall and added nine rebounds. "I think she's the best player in Hillsborough County, but obviously I'm biased," Durant coach Jeff Shotwell said. "(Her performance) was pretty normal." She's a legit Division I prospect, and she shows it every night."

Durant outscored SPC 21-3 in the second quarter to lead 39-12 at halftime. Durant senior Danielle Herndon finished with 10 points, including two free throws in the fourth quarter to give her 1,000 for her career. Senior Precious Lippett made three of the Cougars' six 3-pointers and finished with 13.

While Plant didn't stumble as bad against Kennesaw as King (a 51-31 loss Friday) or Tampa Catholic (73-12 on Thursday), it couldn't keep up in a 49-35 loss.

Mustang center Jessie Nevitt scored 25 points, repeatedly scoring on backdoor screens. "It didn't matter what we did to them," Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. "We've never practiced switching screens, so it wasn't in the cards. We didn't talk at all, and there isn't a defense that you can play if you don't talk."

The Panthers used back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman Porscha Williamson to take an 18-12 lead. But the Mustangs ended the half with a 10-0 run.

"I would love to see that team again in February," Mahon said. "Of course, we won't get to.

"But I'd love to have another opportunity at them."

In consolation games, Laurenleigh Guagliardo's free throw helped Academy squeak out a one-point victory, 47-46, against Dunedin. Ridgewood won its second straight 64-58 against Clearwater Central Catholic. And Gaither avoided a winless tournament by trouncing Shorecrest 64-31.

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