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Ridgewood wins title after East Lake slumps

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001


PALM HARBOR -- Tricia Finke's second and third baskets during Saturday's Class 5A, District 9 championship game pretty much told how East Lake fared against Ridgewood.

Finke's second field goal, a two-pointer, tied the score at 12 in the second quarter. Her next basket, another two-pointer, came in the fourth quarter.

They were the only two field goals the Rams allowed during that 24-6 run en route to a 50-33 victory.

Ridgewood (23-4) hosts Boca Ciega in the 5A region quarterfinals. East Lake (11-10) travels to Pinellas Park.

"Our girls just weren't smart out there tonight," Eagles coach Mike Walter said.

"We had 25 to 30 turnovers, and you can't do that against a team like Ridgewood."

The rut East Lake fell in Saturday is commonplace against the Rams.

The Eagles have lost 10 straight to Ridgewood the past four years.

"I think the only way to explain is that they're young and we're a little more experienced right now," Rams coach Gary Zimmerman said.

Ridgewood has seven seniors, including four who start.

East Lake has three freshmen, two who are starters. Nevertheless, Walter wouldn't say inexperience was the Eagles' downfall.

"It had more to do with silly mistakes, silly passes," he said.

That had a lot to do with the Rams defense.

Ridgewood's Jen Sessa and Alayna Sherwood made their presence felt inside as they altered shots and grabbed rebounds.

On the offensive end, the two started finding their groove after the first quarter, making layups and drawing fouls.

"We started out slow, but we made a few adjustments and focused on what we needed to do," Zimmerman said.

"In the third quarter, we got our inside game going. That's our game."

Sherwood led all scorers with 17, followed by Sessa with 14.

Finke had 12 and Samaria Jones 11 to lead East Lake.

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