tampabay.com

Green Devils hand Mustangs first loss

St. Petersburg ends Mitchell's win streak at 19 games.

By ERIC MUSKATEVC
Published January 17, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - Underestimate Mitchell once, shame on St. Petersburg. Underestimate Mitchell twice, and well, that just wasn't going to happen.

"The first game we probably may have underestimated them," Latoya Davis said of the Green Devils' nine-point loss to the district leading Mustangs at home earlier in the season. "We weren't going to do it again."

And they didn't Tuesday night, winning 50-40 on the road and handing Mitchell, which had won its first 19 games and is ranked No. 6 in Class 6A, its first loss.

Davis, along with fellow post players Danielle Troupe and Sharleece Hughes, led the way in the win, which was clearly won down low. Davis scored more than half of her team-high 14 points on offensive rebounds while Troupe and Hughes combined for another 14 points and one giant headache for Mitchell, which also found foul trouble early trying to defend the quicker team.

"We needed to control the tempo of the game by attacking and taking shots when we had them," St. Petersburg coach Ryan Halstead said.

Halstead said the Green Devils were "passive" against the Mustangs defense in the first matchup. Forcing penetration of Mitchell's zone Tuesday by guards Jazz Green and Kamiysa Smith, both with nine points, and St. Petersburg at least got its shots.

Tied at 11 after the first quarter, St. Petersburg allowed just four points in the second and took a 20-15 halftime lead that it extended with clutch shooting in the third and fourth quarters.

Despite the win, St. Petersburg (14-5) will be seeded No. 2 in the district tournament and likely will meet Mitchell again.