tampabay.com

Barons win championship game

Academy of the Holy Names fought whole game, loses when St. Pete Catholic freshman hit a shot at the buzzer.

By JUSTIN DARGAHI Times Correspondent
Published December 31, 2006


TAMPA - After fighting all game, Academy of the Holy Names tied it up - then a freshman ripped the game from them.

Jerrica Coley hit a 5-footer at the buzzer to lead St. Petersburg Catholic to a 47-45 win in the Keeler Memorial Tournament championship.

"You gotta love freshmen," Barons coach Nick Vandewalle said. "I don't think she was scared at all. She is a good player and will become a great player."

Academy (17-1) dug itself into a 26-13 halftime deficit, unable to stop 6-foot-3 center Sasha Chaplin, who recorded a double double in the first half alone. Facing a double-team in the second half, Chaplin finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Academy cut the lead to 37-35 heading into the fourth.

The Barons (13-4) went back up by five with two minutes to go after Holly Janicki's 3-pointer. Academy's Catriana Messina answered with a 3 to tie it at 45 with seven seconds to go.

After a timeout, the Barons got past Academy's full-court press with two seconds left, and Coley hit the winning shot.

Coley and Chaplin made the all-tournament team. St. Petersburg Catholic junior Kate Carl, who finished the game with 10 points, was named the tournament's MVP.

In the third-place game, Clearwater defeated Blake 56-43.