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Panthers rally past tired Eagles

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003

BRANDON -- Lauren's Cimmino's 3-point shooting and strong inside play from Megan Schourder helped visiting Plant erase a 14-point third-quarter deficit to nip Brandon 59-58 in a Class 4A, District 9 game Monday.

Trailing 42-28 midway through the third quarter, Plant (11-9) used sharp shooting from the outside by Cimmino, and the slashing drives to the basket of Schourder to cut through Brandon's defense and mount its comeback. Cimmino finished with nine points on three 3-pointers and Schourder had 13.

Erigah Butler muscled her way to 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Shea Curtin added 10 points. Many of Butler's and Curtin's points were follow putbacks on offensive rebounds.

"Any time you can come into Brandon and get a district road win, it's important," first-year Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. "We've been struggling lately after a good start, and we needed this to develop some momentum for the districts."

Brandon (9-9) is headed in the opposite direction, losing its fifth consecutive game. Some of that can be attributed to fatigue. The Eagles were playing their fourth game in five school nights. Plant outscored the Eagles 18-11 in the fourth quarter.

"Fatigue was a part of it," Brandon coach Joe Brown said. "We also didn't close on their 3-point shooters or rebound well in the second half. That's been the pattern: We run out of gas in the second half."

Led by Ebony Williams' game-high 19 points, Brandon used an 11-1 run in the beginning of the third quarter to build its 14-point cushion before tiring. Roni Carithers added 16 points.

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