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'Canes, Pirates have seasons end


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 14, 2003

OCALA -- An era came to an end in the district semifinal Thursday between Citrus and Ocala West Port.

The Hurricanes lost 53-35 to the second-year Wolf Pack and Bruce Nelson coach his last game. Nelson, who announced his retirement in the fall, led Citrus to a 23-5 record this season.

West Port (17-13), which lost to Citrus in last season's district quarterfinals by one point, will face Williston in Saturday's final after the Red Devils defeated Crystal River 49-27.

"It's disappointing we couldn't go further in the district tournament," said Nelson, whose team made 15 of 62 shots Thursday. "We didn't shoot well and we just couldn't force any turnovers against them. They were rock solid."

Citrus was hit with a 12-0 run late in the first half and went into halftime down by 11.

Nicole Parsons led the Hurricanes with 14 points, but Katie Steelfox, the team's leading scorer, didn't score.

"They were looking for us to press, but after about two minutes into the game, we went to our 2-3 zone and they really had problems with it," West Port coach Kimberly Bell said. "They weren't expecting us to do that and it really caused some problems for them."

Sharongila Bethea had 16 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Wolf Pack and Kayler McBride added 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

In the other semifinal, Crystal River missed its first 13 shots and went the first 7:59 without a field goal. The Pirates finished 11 of 59 from the floor in their loss to the top-seeded Red Devils (16-7).

The Pirates (15-10) trailed 24-7 at halftime but were able to get within 10 in the third quarter before Williston used a 10-0 run to put the game away.

"The girls played their hearts out," Crystal River coach Brent Hall said. "They kept fighting until the end."

Saretta Appling scored 13 to lead Williston and Dominique Coleman and Santrice James scored 11 each.

Ashley Bullion led the Pirates with 12 points.

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