Girls basketball: Wildcats rely on their experience

By Mike Camunas
Published December 22, 2007

TRINITY - It all came down to experience.

When two of Pasco County's top teams met Friday, Wesley Chapel seemed to have the upper hand in that area over Mitchell.

"Seniors," said Wildcats coach Warren Jones, whose team won 40-32. "They know how to play defense. We knew (guard Latoya) Hillmon is an attacker, so we have to spread the court for her. I think our defensive goal is to make them work for everything they get and then some."

The Wildcats (12-1) held Hillmon to 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting. The senior came in averaging 14.8 points.

"Latoya was off tonight," Mustangs coach Stephanie Koslin said. "She makes those shots, but it wasn't her night. Their defense is good. They know when to step it up."

Wesley Chapel's defense held Mitchell (12-4) to 11-of-44 shooting and allowed one 3-pointer. Offensively, the Wildcats were led by senior Ashley Carey, who had a game-high 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Senior guard Cree McIver added seven points.

"We knew this team wouldn't go away since they're one of the best in the county," Jones said. "They're winners over there. They're not going to let us just win, and we expected it was going to be a fight."

Mitchell was in foul trouble early in the third and had to rely on bench players Katie O'Brien and Karli Lyons for Latrel Kirkland and Hanna Brenard. As a result, albeit a disappointing one to Jones, the Wildcats went 11-of-24 from the free-throw line.

But the Mustangs, the No. 1 team in the Times' North Suncoast power rankings, trimmed a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to five.

"(We) played tough and hung in there," Koslin said. "They fought to the end and didn't give up, and that's what I expected."