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CLEARWATER - Tuesday's soccer match between Countryside and St. Petersburg was supposed to determine the regular season Class 6A, District 7 champion.
Instead, after playing to a 1-1 draw, both teams will have to wait a little longer to find out who will earn the No. 1 seed for January's district tournament.
St. Petersburg (4-1-2, 2-1-1) controlled much of the play in the first half, keeping the ball mostly on Countryside's side of the field and outshooting the Cougars 8-2.
With 12 minutes remaining in the half, St. Petersburg forward Andrea Rodrigues collected a ball just outside the penalty box, dribbled left past one defender and lifted a high-arcing shot over the outstretched hands of Countryside goalkeeper Cristina Brabson and into the top right corner of the net to give the Green Devils a 1-0 lead.
The second half was all Countryside (8-1-1, 3-1-1), however, as the Cougars pressured the ball continually and attacked the St. Petersburg goal with regularity. With 25 minutes left to play, Countryside forward Katie Kent - who normally plays sweeper but was inserted into a striker position for the first time this season - collected a ball outside the penalty box after a bad clearance and, all alone with just the keeper in front of her, drilled a shot into the net to tie the game.
"Katie, she's fiery," Countryside coach Rob Saltz said. "A lot of girls stand up top and walk around and watch. She goes after the ball and really works hard."
Kent almost scored the winner minutes later when she again found herself one-on-one with the keeper, but St. Petersburg's Dayna Adams (eight saves) made a sprawling fingertip stop to keep the score tied.
"I was trying to chip it over her because there was a girl coming on my back," Kent said. "(Adams) reached out and just got a piece of it. It was a great save."
After being outshot in the first half, Countryside had nine second-half shots to St. Petersburg's two.
"We controlled the first half, and they controlled the second half," St. Petersburg coach Rui Farias said. "The result, in the end, was pretty just."
Countryside, which has finished its district schedule, remains at the top of the standings, but St. Petersburg can tie the Cougars for the top spot with a win in its final district game at Mitchell on Dec. 20. If both Countryside and St. Petersburg are tied following all district matches, the tiebreaker is each team's record versus the next highest-seeded team in the district. In that scenario, Countryside would appear to have an edge as its lone district loss came to Gaither, currently occupying last place in the district.
St. Petersburg Catholic 62, Lake Highland Prep 50
In a battle of two unbeatens, St. Petersburg Catholic jumped out on host Lake Highland Prep early and handed the Highlanders (6-1) their first defeat of the season with a win.
SPC's Jerrica Coley was the game's leading scorer with 23 points, and she added eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds to help SPC improve to 7-0 on the season.
"She did a little bit of everything for us tonight," SPC coach Nick Vandewalle said. "Even on the defensive end, the way she played set the tempo for us."
Holly Janicki made three 3-pointers in the first quarter to give SPC a five-point lead after the first quarter. Janicki finished with 13 points.
Sasha Chaplin had a double double for SPC with 11 points and rebounds.
Keswick Christian 65, Tampa Prep 25
Host Keswick rolled to a 65-25 victory over Tampa Prep to improve its record to 5-2.
The Crusaders outscored the Terrapins 21-8 in the first quarter and held a 36-17 lead going into halftime.
"(Tampa Prep) struggled with our defensive pressure," Keswick coach Karrmayne King said.
Kate Carl scored 11 of Keswick's 21 first-quarter points to finish with a game-high 18 points, and the senior guard added 10 rebounds to record a double double.
Chelsea Wozniak also had a double double after registering 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Laura Hodupp pumped in 15 points for the Crusaders.
Tampa Prep (3-5) was led by junior guard Ayala Wasser, who had 12 points.
Indian Rocks Christian 52, Clearwater Central Catholic 41
Isaac McMillen scored a game-high 26 points to lead host Indian Rocks to a 52-41 win over Clearwater Central Catholic, which played without leading scorer Eric Segert (averaging 26 points a game).
"It was an ugly ballgame; there are really no other adjectives to describe it," IRC coach Joe Frost said. "They took it to us inside pretty good in the first half. We were able to press in the second half and cause some turnovers, which helped."
Indian Rocks (4-1) led by two at the break and increased its lead to 37-31 after three quarters before McMillen was able to clinch it.
"He's been scoring pretty well for us," Frost said. "He had about four or five free throws down the stretch that were key."
Buddy Kaufman added 14 points for Indian Rocks. CCC was led by Zack Olson's 11 points.
Seminole 52, Northeast 49
Trailing 52-49 with eight seconds remaining, host Northeast - following a missed Seminole free throw - had an opportunity to send its game with the Warhawks to overtime with a 3-pointer, but the Vikings couldn't get a shot off in their final possession and lost by three, dropping its record to 1-4.
Nathan Pedro had a game-high 24 points to help Seminole improve to 2-3.
"On a night where we needed someone to step up, Nathan had a pretty big game for us," Seminole coach Bill Barnett said.