By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 10, 2001
LECANTO -- Lecanto knew what it had to do to pick up its fifth win Tuesday. Stop Bernice Mosby and Stephanie Freeman, and you stop Hernando.
Easier said than done.
Though Mosby got off to a slow start, it didn't really matter thanks to Freeman, who scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the first half despite suffering from a bad cold. Combine that with Mosby's 23-point effort during the final three quarters and you know the rest of the story: Hernando 61, Lecanto 45.
"I think Bernice and I work together well," Freeman said. "If they concentrate on Bernice, it pretty much leaves me open. And if they concentrate on me, it leaves Bernice open. That's pretty much what we did tonight."
The Panthers (4-10 overall, 2-5 in Class 4A, District 7) took advantage of Hernando's cold start and held a 7-6 lead -- its only lead of the game -- midway through the first quarter.
Erin Bailey (12 points) kept the Panthers within striking distance with two three-pointers in the second quarter, and Nanci Thomas (17 points) chipped in with two baskets near the end of the first half to pull the Panthers within 26-20. However, Mosby started the second half with consecutive easy baskets, and Ellen Widboom sparked the Leopards (11-1, 6-0) from the perimeter with two three-pointers midway through the quarter.
Meanwhile, Freeman added 10 points -- including the final two of the third quarter -- as Hernando took a 48-37 lead.
In the fourth, it was all Mosby, who sliced through the Lecanto defense with ease. Mosby had nine points in the quarter, scoring all but four of Hernando's points and all of them within 6 feet of the basket.