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Gryphons cruise, Knights escape

By SCOTT PURKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2001


TAMPA -- The foul shots did not fall for Tampa Catholic in the first 29 minutes, and then they did not fall for Robinson in the final three.

In the end, Robinson won 39-34, but there were tense moments down the stretch -- particularly at the line.

TC, normally a strong foul shooting team, made only 9 of 26 and trailed 35-25 with 2:57 on the clock.

"And then," TC coach Karim Nohra said, "we stopped being passive. We started getting after it and making things happen. We got focused."

They also started making foul shots, five of the last seven to be exact, as they cut the gap to 36-34.

But Robinson's Johnessa Griffin made two foul shots with 17.1 seconds remaining, snapping a 1-for-7 string at the line for the Knights.

"When it gets to that exciting part of the game, we need to learn to keep our concentration a little better," Robinson coach Carl Green said. "But, hey, we made the shots at the end when we had to.

"This team pulled through. This team is tough and believes in themselves, and they showed that tonight."

The victory pushes the Knights' to 11-4, and, maybe more important, proves it can come back and beat a district opponent like Tampa Catholic, which beat Robinson 60-40 last month.

"Even when it was getting close tonight, we knew we could win," Knight senior Erica Wade said. "We just had to stay together."

TC, meanwhile, dropped to 11-8 after losing consecutive district games to St. Petersburg Catholic, Academy of the Holy Names and now Robinson.

"It's so frustrating because I don't understand how we could be so aggressive in December and then turn around in January and become so passive," Nohra said. "It makes absolutely no sense. Tonight, we got aggressive in the fourth period, and look what happened."

TC scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, or just two less than in the first three quarters combined.

"I told them to look at how they played in tonight's first quarter and compare it to how aggressive they were in the fourth quarter," Nohra said. "If that doesn't show the difference, then I don't know what will."

The Knights jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the opening minutes and increased the lead to 27-13 midway through the third quarter.

But the bottom line, Green said, is the Knights pulled it out.

"This was our biggest win this season," he said. "Now we just need to keep it going."

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