Girls basketball: Boca Ciega lands PCAC title

The sharp-shooting Pirates start strong then pull away.

Published January 26, 2008

GULFPORT - On one play, Boca Ciega hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, and on the next, a jumper from the left side. The shots came in from every angle, and they were all going in - or so they seemed.

"I was hoping we would knock down some shots early, and that's what we did," Pirates coach Will White said.

Sharp shooting in the first half helped Boca Ciega 21-4 jump out to an early lead in a 58-37 win over Clearwater in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game.

In the first half, Pirates guard Latavia Dempsey found a rhythm, scoring 14, including four 3-pointers.

"We have a lot of options with scorers, which is nice," White said. "Latavia just happened to be hot from the start."

The Tornadoes (20-5), playing without guard Keona Dixon (sprained ankle), struggled on offense, scoring in single digits as a team in each of the first three quarters.

"There's no question not having Keona hurt us," Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. "She's right up there in scoring and assists and rebounds for us. But I'd rather have her ready for districts."

The Pirates continued to put it on in the second half. Dempsey led Boca Ciega with 18 points, followed by Tamara Taylor with 14 and Tory Stephens with 13.

"I hope this is the start of something for us we can carry on to districts," White said.

Alexis Alvarez and J'Beria Davis each had eight points for the Tornadoes.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.