tampabay.com

Girls basketball: Dragons come from behind in upset win

Jefferson stages late rally, advances to district final.

By ROD GIPSON
Published February 2, 2008


TAMPA - Despite trailing most of the game, Jefferson staged a late rally and upended Blake for an upset win in the semifinals of the tournament.

Playing at home, Jefferson (17-10) trailed by as much as seven points in the first half and by as much as six in the second half. But the Dragons defense clamped down and its offense went on a 15-5 fourth-period run to turn a six-point deficit into a 47-41 win.

Jefferson will take on Plant in today's district final.

"These kids have played hard all year long," Jefferson coach Tom Mosca said. "This wasn't any different. We were slow and sluggish at first, we needed to play at a quicker pace and once we did that, we were okay."

Blake (11-9), which was led by senior Chanele Patton's 19 points, took a quick lead and maintained it through the first half. Jefferson had no answer early on for Patton, who scored from the inside and outside.

The Dragons managed to nip away at the Yellow Jackets' lead in the third quarter, narrowing the margin to 36-32. That's when Jefferson made its move. The Dragons defense neutralized Patton and got key baskets from Atavia Blake to go on its run and upset the Yellow Jackets.

Blake and Laurie Beaty each scored 13 for the Dragons.

In the opening game, a 42-42 third-quarter score quickly evaporated as Plant (18-2) closed out the game with a 18-8 run to advance to the finals with a 60-50 win over Hillsborough. The game's end was in contrast to the first half when Hillsborough's Shalisia Hall's 3-point shooting helped the Terriers to a 32-27 lead.

But the Panthers defense swamped Hall in the second half, holding her scoreless. Hall ended the game with 23 points. Meanwhile, Michelle Taylor (14 points), Rebecca Marve (10) and De'Erika Brown (10) all had key baskets to help the Panthers pull away.