CLASS 5A: Dominique Redding scores 30 as the battle for a trip to state turns into a rout.
By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2003
SEMINOLE -- Jen Hansen smiled just minutes after her team's season-ending defeat, and the Seminole senior admitted the smile was not really a wan one.
Probably more like one of relief. There was no stopping Clearwater on Saturday, making the final buzzer a welcome sound for both sides.
The Tornadoes took control early and poured it on late in a 70-43 win in the Class 5A, Region 3 final, earning a trip to Lakeland for Wednesday's state semifinal. It is Clearwater's sixth trip to the state tournament in eight years, and for the third consecutive time South Broward awaits.
The Bulldogs, who beat Clearwater in the state final last year and the semifinals in 2000, won at Kissimmee Osceola 61-54 in the Region 4 final.
Clearwater (29-4) beat Seminole 60-52 during the regular season and relied on a similar formula: Dominique Redding and defense.
The Tennessee signee, named a McDonald's All-American on Thursday, poured in 30 points, while defensive pressure led by Nicole Ryan on fellow guard Hansen held the Warhawks to just two points in the first quarter and 15 in the first half.
"It's Clearwater," Hansen said. "It was a tough game all around for everyone. They were just hot tonight."
Seminole (29-3) even had the pace it wanted early, a deliberate half-court game, yet could do nothing with it.
Clearwater let the Warhawks run some clock, then pressed up on the guards and forced turnovers, six in all in the first quarter that led to 10 points.
The first quarter lead for the Tornadoes was 12-2, and hot shooting after that kept the home team at bay. Clearwater shot 60 percent (29-of-48) for the night.
"They shot the ball too well for us to beat them," Seminole coach Dave Swanson said. "They were just automatic."
Even as Clearwater continued its hot hand in the third quarter, Seminole for the most part kept up. But a 14-2 run at the start of the fourth put Clearwater up 57-34 and ended any wild comeback thoughts.
Tricia Finke scored 10 points and Karen Braden nine for Clearwater before fouling out.
Hansen had 14 points, eight below her season average. Freshman guard Chelse Patterson led Seminole with 17 points.