By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001
TAMPA -- Blake and Armwood came into Monday night's matchup fighting for seedings in the upcoming Class 4A, District 10 tournament.
Blake also used the night to honor its five outgoing seniors, although Armwood did all it could to spoil the event. By the time the two district rivals were done, Armwood came out with a 62-52 win.
But Blake (10-6) didn't make it easy for the Hawks.
Blake led in the first and second quarters, stretching its lead to five points shortly before the half. The Yellow Jackets' quickness, along with the outside shooting of Kemma Kellum and Janet Howard, led to a 19-14 lead before the Hawks (17-5) could heat up.
"They are a quick team," Armwood coach Joe Morris said. "But we played a little dumb and kept frustrating ourselves. But once we calmed downed and kept things under control we were okay."
The Hawks were pretty calm to begin the second half, going on a 10-0 run while keeping Blake without a basket for almost four minutes.
Six-foot-3 center Jeralynn Campbell scored eight of her 27 points in the third to help Armwood take over the game. The Hawks grabbed a 38-30 advantage and seemed to be on their way to blowing Blake out on senior night.
But Kellum, who ended the game with 17 points, led the Jackets on a rally.
With 4:25 left in the game, a steal and a basket by Howard gave Blake a 45-44 lead. But the Jackets' first lead of the second half would be their only one as Campbell and Marlana Spencer would put the game back in favor of the Hawks -- on the floor and at the free-throw line.
The game was a hard fought contest, which meant fouls late in the game would send both teams to the line. That's where Armwood found another advantage after sinking 14 of its 18 shots while Blake struggled, putting down just 6 of 18 shots.
Spencer would finish the game with 20 points, four coming in the game's final moments from the free-throw line.
"We ran into problems when we didn't play in control tonight," said Morris, whose team may face Blake again in the district tournament.
"And Blake is a good team. But when we weren't making mistakes with turnovers and fouls, we played our game."