CLASS 5A: Deltona Pine Ridge breaks open a game that's close until late in the third quarter.
By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2003
DELTONA -- Late in the third quarter, Durant was sitting within four points of host Deltona Pine Ridge and had hopes of pulling out the win and advancing to the state semifinals.
Those hopes evaporated quickly.
Pine Ridge went on a 29-10 run from there to take the game 65-42 and advance to its first semifinal in the school's nine-year history.
The Panthers' defensive pressure was the difference as Tyrice Horn scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, capped by a steal and a layup after a Durant timeout, to push the lead to 15. It snowballed after that for the Cougars.
"We turned the ball over too many times," Durant coach Jeff Shotwell said. "We dug our own hole there at the end of the third quarter.
"They did a great job defensively. We normally get really good looks at the basket, and they were few and far between tonight."
Using the same 1-1-3 press that allowed the Panthers (25-4) to beat Haines City 71-43 in the region semifinal after the teams were tied at halftime, the Pine Ridge pressure started early, forcing nine Cougar turnovers in the first quarter. Haines City missed its first 20 shots in the second half, and the Cougars (26-4) had similar shooting woes, going 14-of-59 from the field.
The pressure was particularly helpful in containing Cougar forward Shay Mackey, who scored 12 points but shot 3-of-14 from the field.
"That's a testament to their defense," Shotwell said. "We weren't finding open shooters all night long. They came in and matched up on our guards out on the perimeter and that's when the turnovers came in bunches."
Still, Durant was tied after one and set the tone on its very first possession as Mackey took the ball right at 6-foot-4 Pine Ridge center Kisya Killingsworth for a 3-point play. The Panthers' height advantage evaporated less than two minutes into the game when Killingsworth went to the bench after picking up her second foul.
But the Panthers' depth kicked in and they went on an 8-0 run behind the strong play of senior Asha Neal.
With Killingsworth sidelined with her third foul in the second quarter, Neal, the Florida International-bound forward, scored nine points in the quarter, two more than Durant, including a basket with 1.8 seconds remaining before halftime.
Neal continued her pace in the third, scoring seven more points with another basket in the waning seconds of the quarter to give Pine Ridge its largest lead at the time, 43-32.