By LINDA ROTHSTEIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 3, 2001
NEW PORT RICHEY -- River Ridge will have to settle for the consolation game today after falling 47-36 to Springstead in the first round of the River Ridge Holiday Tournament on Tuesday.
The Royal Knights saw a third-quarter lead dwindle and then disappear in the fourth after solid rebounding and crucial free-throw shooting by the Eagles.
The two teams were tied at 18 at the half and River Ridge held a one-point edge, 29-28, at the end of the third quarter.
"We just didn't take care of the ball very well offensively," River Ridge coach Al Sorrentino said. "They pressured our guard and from there, we just didn't get into any offensive flow. We threw the ball away a lot."
Springstead was led in the fourth quarter by an eight-point performance from Meagan Batchelor.
For the game, Roe Finlayson led the Eagles in scoring with 11 points followed by Mindi Robbins with 10.
"I thought Meagan did a real good job playing defense," Springstead coach Whit Campbell said.
Despite the win, Campbell was unhappy with his team's performance and blamed the holiday break.
"I've never seen us play basketball this badly," Campbell said. "This was just purely the worst we can play. It wasn't good. I was unhappy with rebounding, offense, defense, the press, the fast-break press break, you name it. I wasn't happy with anything."
The Royal Knights were led by Jen Dombrowski with eight points. She was followed by Brandi Young and Danielle Brosnan, who scored seven points apiece.
According to Sorrentino, Brosnan is currently shooting 50 percent from the three-point line. She had one three-pointer against the Eagles.
In the early game, Central downed Zephyrhills 62-25. The Bears led throughout, holding a 30-13 advantage at the break.
Stacy Waters led the Bears with 18 points followed closely by Terry Donegan's 17.
Alexis Hodges was the high-scorer for the Bulldogs with eight points while Jessica Clancy had seven.
Central will face Springstead in the championship game today at 4 p.m. while River Ridge will take on Zephyrhills in the consolation game at 2.
"They beat us before," Campbell said of Central. "If we come out and play like we did today, we won't win."