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Preps

Cougars survive overtime scare

By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
Published February 13, 2004

VALRICO - Bloomingdale rallied from an eight-point deficit against Durant to send the game into overtime, but in the end, the strong play of Shay Mackey (28 points) was too much, as the Cougars won 62-60.

"Night in and night out, (Mackey) has been a model of consistency," Cougars coach O.J. Marbra said. "She's scored 15 or more points in every game this season."

The Cougars (16-7) face Sarasota Riverview in Saturday's Class 6A, District 6 final.

The Bulls (20-7), meanwhile, were tearful after coming up short.

"We just had to believe we could come back and have confidence in ourselves," said Bulls center Erica Woodard (23 points), who is headed to the University of Tampa on a scholarship. "In the end, we played defense so hard, we got tired. There was nothing left."

With 2:40 to play in the third quarter, the Bulls were down 36-28. Then, Kendall Heath scored off a steal and a layup that resulted in a three-point play. Bloomingdale trimmed the lead to three by the end of the quarter.

Durant again surged ahead by eight on penetration and a pullup jumper by Courtney Chasten to make it 45-37, but again, Bloomingdale clawed its way back.

Heath hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds to play to pull within 51-48, then the Bulls stole the ball again and got it to Heath for the tying 3-pointer with five seconds remaining. Mackey's shot as regulation time expired went off the back of the rim.

In overtime, Mackey dished to Chasten for a baseline jumper, then Chasten and Mackey hit free throws down the stretch as time ran out on the Bulls.

5A-8: Hillsborough, King pull out close wins

BRANDON - The semifinals at Brandon featured two games that went down to the wire, Hillsborough beating Plant 45-43 in the first and King taking out Brandon 51-46 in the second.

In Hillsborough's victory, Plant had the ball with seconds remaining but failed to get off a shot. Brandon battled back from a 14-point second-half deficit, took the lead then lost it for good seconds later.

"If we played with the same intensity at the end of the game that we did in the beginning then we might have done something," Brandon coach Joe Brown said. "In the third and fourth quarter we had good intensity. We had that one run but that was it. We could never keep it going."

King (12-10) benefited from the return of Jessica Bennett, who has been out a month with a fractured ankle. Bennett had 13 points and nine rebounds.

King converted 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch.

King and Hillsborough meet in Saturday's final at Brandon at 7 p.m.

- SCOTT PURKS

5A-7: Alonso upsets top-seeded Gaither

TAMPA - There's joy at Alonso, thanks partly to a bold prediction made by coach Kelly Joyner before her Ravens shocked top-seeded host Gaither 54-46 Thursday night in the semifinals.

"We set a school record for most points in a game the other night when we beat Chamberlain (63-57)," Joyner said. "I told the team if they're capable of that, then we could beat Gaither, and be the talk of Hillsborough County."

Some of that conversation is certain to surround the fact that Gaither (14-7) defeated the fourth-seeded Ravens (9-15) by at least 20 in both regular season meetings.

"Maybe we overlooked (Alonso) a little bit," Gaither coach Bill Agatheas said. "But you have to give them credit."

The victory guarantees Alonso its first regional appearance in the school's three-year history. The Ravens play for the district title at 7 Saturday night against Wharton, a 51-46 winner over Leto.

Nikki Kelley led the Wildcats (21-7) with 18 points. Yarenis Blanco scored 21 for Leto (18-8).

- DON JENSEN

[Last modified February 13, 2004, 01:45:34]


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