CLASS 5A: Boca Ciega is just another bump in the road as Clearwater cruises to a 32-point win.
By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003
CLEARWATER -- It was routine stuff for Clearwater: Another region playoff game, another win.
The Tornadoes, looking to make it six state tournament trips in eight seasons, dismantled Boca Ciega 80-48 Tuesday.
"Any team is dangerous at this stage. It might seem like old hat, but every game you have to watch out for 50 different things that might happen," Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. "I was really pleased with our defensive intensity. I thought we played hard."
Clearwater star forward Dominique Redding, who has had flu-like symptoms, did not practice this week and did not play the first quarter. It hardly mattered, as Tricia Finke (nine points), Karen Braden (10), Rachel Hammond (13) and Nicole Ryan (15) kept the Tornadoes churning.
"Nicole did a great job as always," Shaneyfelt said.
Clearwater (27-4) led 18-12 after the first quarter and, after Bogie drew within four, 24-20, the Tornadoes closed the half with a 23-9 run. Redding showed few ill effects, swishing a jump shot 10 seconds after checking in and leading all scorers with 20.
"I've just got that bug that's going around," Redding said. "I'm up to about 85 percent now."
Boca Ciega (20-7), coming off a heartbreaking 49-46 defeat at Seminole in the district tournament, was paced by Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen with 12 points.
"Why we couldn't do better in the first quarter when Dominique wasn't even in there, I don't know," Roegiers-Jensen said. "We match up with them well, but they're smarter than us."
Clearwater hosts Naples, a 69-65 winner over Punta Gorda Charlotte, in a region semifinal Tuesday.
SEMINOLE -- Pinellas Park pulled an upset to get to this point, but against the No. 5 team in Class 5A the Patriots needed more.
More ball protection, more Amber Cross and more defense would have been a good start.
Instead, Seminole executed a perfect game plan and ran away with Thursday's contest, beating Pinellas Park 62-37.
Seminole (28-2) advances to Tuesday's regional semifinal at Naples Gulf Coast, which beat Bradenton Manatee 64-53.
The Patriots were their own worst enemy, as 10 first-half turnovers allowed Seminole to take a commanding 33-15 lead into the locker room.
"Aw, turnovers killed us," Pinellas Park coach Dave Mauger said. "(Jen) Hansen and turnovers, that's what's the deal."
Hansen, Seminole's senior floor leader, scored 20 points and dished five assists, three in the first half to Beth Taylor.
Taylor helped the Warhawks pull away in the second quarter, scoring on three straight trips down the floor to push the lead to double figures.
When it did hold onto the ball, Pinellas Park (16-13) could not get its offense flowing behind usual leader Cross.
Cross had 25 points in a win over Largo last week that put the Patriots in the playoffs, but she could muster only seven points Thursday as Seminole's Laura Palmeri played her tightly.
"We were definitely prepared for anything we were going to see tonight offensively," Seminole coach Dave Swanson said.
The Warhawks came in off an emotional district final, where they needed a 3-pointer from Alli Fogle with 10 seconds left to beat Boca Ciega. But against Pinellas Park there appeared to be no letdown, and Swanson is counting on a similar effort against Gulf Coast with a tantalizing regional final against Clearwater perhaps just a game away.
"We're continually telling them to stay focused and take the game that's in front of you," Swanson said.
Pinellas Park played Seminole tighter in the second half but the game was already well in hand for the home team. No Patriots managed double figures, while the Warhawks had three in Hansen, Taylor (13 points) and Palmeri (12).
-- JOHN SCHWARB