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Shorecrest can't keep Panthers from title

CLASS A, DISTRICT 11: Bradenton Christian grabs its eight crown in nine years with an 84-59 pasting of the Chargers.

By ROVEN YAU

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2003


ST. PETERSBURG -- Bradenton Christian captured its fifth consecutive Class A, District 11 tournament championship with an 84-59 victory over Shorecrest on Saturday night.

The Panthers came out on fire, taking the lead eight seconds into the game on a layup by forward Jessica Magley.

That sparked Bradenton Christian to a 21-3 run that ran into the second quarter.

"We just came out slow today," Chargers coach Anthony Lawrence said. "I don't know what it was, but we had a very bad first quarter.

"After that, we fought it out, and with Bradenton Christian being as good as they are, that's a big mountain to climb."

Magley scored 48 points the last time the Chargers faced Bradenton Christian, so much of the Shorecrest defense's focus was aimed at stopping her from doing it again.

"When you have a player like Magley, so our major focus was trying to stop her," Lawrence said.

"We tried to slow her down, but the rest of the team really stepped up."

Magley was held to a respectable 27 points, enough to maintain her 23-point average, but nowhere close to a repeat of her previous performance.

The Panthers got a big boost from point guard Sara Vanderbent, who was left relatively unguarded during the first quarter because of double teams on Magley in the low post.

Vanderbent converted on three of her seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 26 points.

Guard Tess Mullinax kept Shorecrest competitive during the final three quarters by coring a game-high 34 points.

Bradenton Christian has won the Class A, District 11 tournament eight out of the past nine seasons.

The Panthers' two losses this season have come against Class 5A Clearwater and Class 4A Bradenton Southeast.

Shorecrest will await the winner of the Fort Myers Evangelical and Community School of Naples game.

Bradenton Christian will host the loser.

Both games will be played Thursday.

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