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A profusion of points

That's what Seminole gets every time scoring-machine Chelsea Patterson takes the court.

By BOB PUTNAM
Published January 29, 2006


SEMINOLE - How do you know a player is in the midst of a MVP-type season?

Is it when a) she is asked about her 30-point game and responds, "Which one?;" b) she shakes her head dejectedly and is almost apologetic after scoring a mere 24 points; or c) is scoring with such apparent ease against high-caliber opponents that other coaches angrily yell, "Somebody guard her!"

The answer is all of the above, which is what Chelsea Patterson, Seminole's electrifying guard, is doing in a season in which scoring 30 or more in a game has become routine. Patterson shot her way into the spotlight with back-to-back 37-point games against Gibbs and Sarasota Riverview two weeks ago. She also had 33 to beat Lakewood the week before.

"I feel like if I'm not scoring, I'm not in the game," Patterson said. "Scoring is just what I love to do."

Patterson is the school's second all-time leading scorer with 1,891 points, 77 behind the leader, Jen Hansen, who played from 1999-2003.

"Chelsea has really put the team on her shoulders," Warhawks coach Dave Swanson said. "We've played some strong teams lately, so she's stepped up and provided the scoring we needed."

Last season, Patterson shared the load with Alli Fogle, a two-time Times' all-Pinellas first-teamer who helped the Warhawks advance to the region final twice.

But with Fogle now at the University of Southern Illinois at Edwardsville, Swanson needed to find a way to make up for her loss.

Patterson was more than happy to volunteer. She already provided points, leading Seminole in scoring and assists in 2004-05. But she was ready to do more.

"I knew was I was pretty much going to be our offensive weapon," Patterson said.

Her scoring surge is more impressive considering she handles the ball on almost every trip down the court. She beats defenders on quickness and maneuverability, slithering through spaces like a circus contortionist. Furthermore, she can pull up and get a decent shot from anywhere.

Catalog her shots and you see a little bit of everything: jumpers from either wing and the top of the key, runners down the gut, turnarounds, fadeaways and up-and-under scoops.

"I feel like I can make any kind of shot," Patterson said.

But Patterson doesn't want to be known strictly for having a feathery touch. Since she gets more than her share of attention from opponents, Patterson works hard to get the ball in the low post or dish it outside.

"It's not just points that Chelsea gives us," Swanson said. "She's played just about every position on the court and knows where everyone should be. She's the type of player that makes everyone around her better."

This week, Patterson will need to fire at a furious pace. The Warhawks are trying to win their fifth straight Class 5A, District 11 title. To do that, Seminole, seeded third, likely will have to get past Boca Ciega in the semifinals.

"I think it can be done," Patterson said. "I think we can surprise some people and advance. I'll do my best to make that happen."