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Panthers, Pirates enjoy wins


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 5, 2003

LECANTO -- Fifty was the magic number Saturday as Lecanto and Crystal River reached the half-century mark and posted wins at the Panther Holiday Classic.

The tournament host Panthers beat Seven Rivers Christian 50-36 and the Pirates beat Jacksonville Providence 50-26.

Lecanto had the same number of field goals (16) as Seven Rivers, but made a season-high seven baskets from beyond the 3-point line.

Five players hit a trey, including senior Cortney Stewart, who had a team-high 13 points. Caroline Rodriguez (10 points), Kristen Dorn (nine), Shannon Haas (five) and Mary Ann Emberley (four) also connected from long range.

"I'd rather have balance than one big scorer because if they ever go down you're dead," said Lecanto coach Ron Allan, whose team is 5-6.

With 5-foot-11 senior Danielle Albury manning the post for Seven Rivers (6-4), Allan said his Panthers were mostly limited to a perimeter game.

Albury had 18 and freshman Lacey Lyons chipped in 11 for the Warriors.

"They've got a good team," Allan said. "Lacey Lyons is a good shooter and Danielle Albury is tough inside. We don't have anybody big enough for her and we couldn't get the ball inside."

Seven Rivers came out strong but Lecanto recovered to take a 23-21 halftime lead. Albury tied it 25-25 in the third quarter, but the Panthers took control from there. A 3-pointer by Rodriguez gave the Panthers their first double-digit lead at 37-25 with about five minutes remaining.

One of Seven Rivers' top three scorers, Rachel Ebert, was hampered by a foot injury and did not play much. The Warriors, who had seven players suited up, also hurt their cause with 30 turnovers.

"Lecanto shot the ball well and I don't think we did," Seven Rivers coach Brian Ludwick said. "We turned the ball over too much in the third quarter."

After going 0-2 in the Classic, Seven Rivers will not practice before hosting Hernando Monday. Lecanto hosts Springstead Tuesday.

After its win in the early game, Crystal River coach Brent Hall was feeling optimistic about his Pirates (4-5).

"We're ready for the WNBA," Hall joked. "We're going to make a transfer and file the papers on Monday."

Crystal River hit 24 field goals and two free throws to reach 50 points. Freshman Setera Lockley led the Pirates with 14 and Ja'Vonna Grimsley had 10. Casandra Vega, who scored 26 Friday, added eight, as did Ashley Bullion.

The Pirates led 20-13 at the break and used a strong second half to pull away. Hall said his team had a lot of energy despite playing the night before.

"We were able to work our sets today and work on our halfcourt offense," Hall said.

Crystal River plays Wednesday at Dunnellon.

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