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Preps

Hooks rescues St. Pete Catholic

CLASS 2A: Senior scores 21 as Barons avert late collapse in 63-49 win.

By BRANDON WRIGHT

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003


TAMPA -- Perhaps St. Pete Catholic coach Nick Vanderwalle summed up Michie Hooks' performance best.

"Wow, she really went off tonight," he said.

Hooks poured in 21 points as the Barons pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Academy of the Holy Names 63-49 and advance to the regional semifinals.

"(Hooks) is a senior and she played like it tonight," Vanderwalle said. "She just doesn't want this season to end."

Hooks scored 16 in the second half as the Barons turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 37-27 advantage by the end of the third quarter. Hooks also dominated the glass on both ends, pulling down a game-high 20 rebounds.

The win was not as comfortable as the score indicated.

The Barons squandered their 10-point third-quarter cushion, bringing back memories of their loss to Clearwater Central Catholic in last week's district final, a game in which they led 23-9 at halftime.

"It was starting to look like deja vu," Hooks said. "We were playing scared."

After Jenny Heretick's jumper to open the fourth quarter put the Barons ahead 39-27, the Jaguars chipped away. Christen Prado's layup with 2:51 to play tied it at 48, but Hooks then took control.

The senior forward sliced down the right side and hit a floater off the glass, sparking a 15-1 run to close the game. Hooks scored seven during the clinching stretch.

"She's playing with tremendous confidence and it showed tonight," Vanderwalle said.

The Jaguars built a 23-21 halftime lead on the strength of their fullcourt press, which gave the Barons fits. Vanderwalle said recognition and reaction were the keys to St. Pete Catholic breaking the press in the second half.

"Academy was just trapping us everywhere and we got a little intimidated," he said. "We weren't making the extra pass in the first half and we were picking up our dribble too soon. The girls just made better decisions with the basketball (in the second half)."

CCC gets a breather

CLEARWATER -- Playing in a region with three teams ranked in the top seven, Clearwater Central Catholic knew its road to the state final four would have some bumps.

Thursday's quarterfinal game, though, was smooth sailing.

The Marauders hosted Tampa Prep, a team they beat by 37 last month. The rematch had a similar outcome as CCC needed just more than an hour to dispose of the Terrapins 44-25.

Up next for the Marauders is a home game against No.2 Melbourne Central Catholic in the region semifinal Tuesday.

"We know we're going to be playing a ranked team in our next game and it is going to be a test." CCC coach Gary Platt said.

The Marauders did not get much of one against the Terrapins. They scored 17 in the first quarter, more than Tampa Prep scored in the first three quarters combined.

By the second half, the nearly forgotten players on CCC's bench were in. All 11 Marauders played and eight scored.

K.C. Ann Gavin scored a team-high 16 and Tiffany Avril added 11 to lead CCC (23-8).

"We had two quarters where we didn't score a lot and the game was a little rough, but overall I was pleased," Platt said. "We let everybody play."

Tampa Prep (11-16) outscored the Marauders 12-11 in the second and third, but it was too late. Anna Hauber, who scored 10, was the only Terrapin in double digits.

-- BOB PUTNAM

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