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Pasco wastes no time putting away Patriots

CLASS 3A: After a 65-30 win over a first-year school, the Pirates will face a tougher test in the semifinals Tuesday.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003

DADE CITY -- Pasco was, well, down right unpatriotic against first-year Freedom in Thursday night's region quarterfinal playoff.

Pardon the pun, but the Pirates did rout the raw Patriots 65-30 in their first playoff appearance since 2001.

Pasco advances to the region semifinals and a 7:30p.m. game Tuesday at Fort Myers Bishop Verot (25-6), ranked third in the state and a 63-22 winner over Avon Park (14-5).

Freedom showed its inexperience in the first quarter. The Patriots (7-14) went scoreless as the Pirates (19-6) ran out to a 15-0 lead.

"We just froze," Patriots coach Erin Campbell said. "We don't have a kid who's played varsity at all before this season so we didn't know what to expect. We came in tight and we couldn't hit a shot.

"We just never could get out of it."

Pasco had no such qualms, scoring 13 more field goals than Freedom. Alicia Badger led the Pirates with 17, scoring 10 in the first half despite separating her left shoulder early and playing with a heavy wrap.

"We're excited," Pasco coach Tony Vasquez said. "Sweet 16? That's not bad. Not bad at all.

"We knew beforehand that there were some certain areas we wanted to avoid (with the ball) and we settled down and did what we needed to do."

Freedom actually made a run in the second quarter, which Pasco still won 14-12.

Down 29-12 in the second half, the Patriots quickly lost more ground as the Pirates started to run and gun. Pasco won the third 23-9 and the fourth 13-9. In the second half, it took Freedom an average of nearly two minutes to score each field goal.

Pasco, already up by 22, went crazy with 1:29 left in the third.

Badger hit a layup, Caitlin Elliot hit two free throws and Ashley Davis stole the ball, scored and hit the foul shot in the last 5.1 seconds to make the lead 32.

Molly Barthle finished with 11 points (three off 3-pointers), Davis had nine, Shalanda Clemmons had eight and Elliot and Ethel Gray scored seven each.

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