© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tess Mullinax will get her points; that's a given in any Shorecrest game. The question is whether she gets help along the way.
Thursday night, Mullinax did not fill it up early in either half against Keswick Christian. But her teammates did, allowing Shorecrest to notch a 53-47 win and the school's first trip to the playoffs in 16 years.
The Chargers (14-8) will play Bradenton Christian in the district final Saturday night at Keswick. The Panthers took care of Northside Christian 61-36.
Keswick (17-10) led early on its home floor by as much as eight points, then Mullinax scored 10 points in just over two minutes in the second quarter to get Shorecrest close. Teammates Taylor Tremaine and Natalie Bryant combined for three baskets at the end of the half to give Shorecrest a 27-24 lead.
Tremaine, Bryant and Rachel Fowler helped maintain the lead in the third quarter until Mullinax heated up for 12 second-half points. She finished with 24.
"A lot of times with us, Tess being the player that she is, we kind of go with her," Shorecrest coach Anthony Lawrence said. "But today, a lot of players really stepped up."
Keswick was plagued by turnovers and playing without senior point guard Anne Grabill, out of town on family business.
Northside (10-16) fell behind 10-0 and was never a factor against Bradenton Christian (27-2), the No.4 team in Class A. Panthers center Jessica Magley scored 28 points and Danielle Fisher hit four 3-pointers in the first half.
The Chargers know about the Panthers' dominant center. In an earlier game this season against Shorecrest, Magley scored 48.
-- JOHN SCHWARB
TRINITY -- Tarpon Springs had swept every Pasco County team in the district this season save one: top-seeded Ridgewood.
But in Thursday night's semifinal, Land O'Lakes had a surprise for the Spongers, prevailing in a 41-40 stunner to set up Saturday's all-Pasco County final. Land O'Lakes will meet Ridgewood (23-3), a 68-42 winner over Mitchell (12-14) in the other semifinal.
It was the Gators' (18-7) third try at the Spongers (21-7) after two losses, and this time Land O'Lakes overcame Tarpon Springs' advantage inside. The Spongers' Katherine Chapman was held to six points and had to leave during a critical point in the third quarter when she notched her fourth foul. The Gators took advantage, winning that quarter 11-4 and then getting Chapman to foul out with four minutes left in the game.
Tarpon Springs' Erika Siauciunas had 20 points, but couldn't offset 14 from the Gators' Melissa White, 11 from April Slate and eight from Roshaunda Washington. Land O'Lakes actually led by five in the last seconds, but two missed lay-ups allowed Tarpon Springs to cut it close.
"The girls performed above and beyond tonight," Gators coach Greg Robinson said. "It was a great game to be in."
-- JAMAL THALJI
DUNEDIN -- Lakewood advanced to Saturday's final after a 67-62 victory over Dunedin.
The Spartans offense was led by the hot shooting of Crystal Barriner, who scored 13 of her 23 points on five field goals, including three 3-pointers, in the first quarter.
The Falcons were in foul trouble early to help the Spartans take a 19-14 lead at the end of the first.
The Spartans offense remained effective in the second as Jainaba Phillips scored six of her 17 in the quarter.
But the Falcons countered with Sarah Rawlings, who scored eight of her game-high 24 in the second.
The momentum turned before halftime, when Linae Gillems connected on a 3-pointer as time expired.
The Falcons, who were down 38-32 at the half, dominated in the third. Tashara Quince, who had three fouls in the first half, was 4-for-4 from the foul line and scored seven of her 11. Rawlings also added seven in the quarter.
The Falcons took a 54-52 lead at the end of the third on Heather Fussari's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Spartans bounced back from a dismal third quarter and outscored a fatigued Dunedin team 15-8 in the fourth.
"They always play well at home. We just kept on wearing them and wearing them and we had to make some unusual substitutions," Spartans coach Ed Jackson said.
"They started to miss some shots and we put some fresh kids in late."
Lakewood will play Bradenton Southeast on Saturday at 7:30.
-- AARON THOMAS
SEMINOLE -- They could have called it practice, a scrimmage, or warm-ups. But top seeds Seminole and Boca Ciega just didn't want to call their semifinal matchups close, and it showed. The number one-seeded Warhawks routed Gibbs 69-37 after keeping a close eye on the Pirates 59-42 win over Dixie Hollins.
Both teams were led by their premiere players, who should make Saturday's championship game a good one. Jen Hansen rounded out her 10-rebound and 10-assist night with 21 points, completing the triple-double for the Warhawks. Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen dropped in 24 points, hitting 4-of-8 three-pointers and grabbing 14 rebounds for number two-seeded Boca Ciega.
"She was all over the court tonight," said Pirate coach Nate Southern about Roegiers-Jensen. "Inside, outside, she did it all again tonight."
"I don't know if you really stop a player like Kelcey," said Seminole coach Dave Swanson. "We've got to try and contain her. We have a lot of outstanding defensive players on our team."
The Warhawks kept Gibbs to nine points in the first half, on their way to their 26th win. The Warhawks have two losses, one to Clearwater and the other to Boca Ciega. Dominique Nixon and Ashonna Bryant led Dixie with nine points each. Boca Ciega (20-5) ended the first quarter with a 21-12 lead and never looked back. Brittany Gant scored 16 for the Rebels in the loss.
-- ERIC MUSKATEVC
CLEARWATER -- Pinellas Park used three 3-pointers in the second quarter to overcome an early seven-point deficit and hung on for a 47-43 upset win over Largo.
The Packers' (22-6) determination was relentless, but the Pinellas Park (16-11) offense, led by Amber Cross with 25 points, was able to keep the lead just out of reach. Cross hit five 3-pointers in the game.
Cross also hit a key free throw with 19 seconds left in the game to give the Patriots a four-point lead they were able to maintain.
"We felt that we could beat Largo all year long, and we finally did tonight," Patriot coach Dave Mauger said. "Nobody gave Pinellas Park a chance, but we showed them tonight that we can win."
In the second game of the doubleheader, Clearwater (25-4) had an easy time with Palm Harbor U. (13-16), 84-38. The Tornadoes had a 23-6 lead after the first quarter and scored at least 20 points in three of the quarters. Dominique Redding had 25 points and Rachel Hammond 15 to lead Clearwater.
Pinellas Park and Clearwater will square off Saturday night at 7:30 in the district final.
-- JEFF GUSSOW