By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001
All games at 7:30
CLASS 5A, REGION 3
East Lake (11-10) at Pinellas Park (11-16)
THE SKINNY: The Patriots are the surprise of the county. Two solid upsets of Seminole and Boca Ciega have Pinellas Park at home with a good chance to advance to the regional semifinal. Young East Lake put up a good fight against powerful Ridgewood before succumbing 50-33 in the 5A-9 final and also has done well to advance this far. Amber Cross and Lexi Roegiers-Jensen combine for 29 points a game for Pinellas Park.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Sarasota or Plant.
THE SKINNY: The Rams aren't receiving any votes in the state poll, but perhaps they should. Ridgewood is ranked No. 3 in the Times Tampa Bay Top 10 and has played well all season. Bogie has relied on the one-two punch of Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen and Lauren Karfonta (a combined 39 points and 15 rebounds a game), but Ridgewood is much bigger and deeper. Bogie will be hard-pressed to stop the Rams' power punch of Alayna Sherwood and Jen Sessa down low.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Wharton or Punta Gorda Charlotte.
Sebring (17-13) at Clearwater (23-5)
THE SKINNY: The Tornadoes are ranked No. 5 in the state poll (and No. 5 in the Times poll) and are heavily favored to win. By outlasting Largo down the stretch in its 60-46 win in the 4A-11 final, Clearwater gave itself a much easier game tonight -- on paper at least. The outside-inside punch of Kasie Muchler and Dominique Redding averages a combined 36 points a game for the Tornadoes, and Natalie Wilkinson is third in the county with 6.5 assists a game.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Winter Haven or Armwood.
Largo (16-8) at Bradenton Southeast (29-1)
THE SKINNY: The Packers jolted themselves from their late-season, injury- and illness-induced swoon in the nick of time, upsetting Lakewood in the 4A-11 semifinal before losing to Clearwater. The reward? A road trip to one of the state's top teams. Southeast, ranked No. 1 in 4A, is the total package -- good inside and out, and deep. But the Indians aren't invincible -- they lost to Clearwater in December. If the Packers play their best game, they could hang close and have a shot at the upset.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Blake or Bartow.
Fort Myers Bishop Verot (25-5) at St. Petersburg Cath. (24-3)
THE SKINNY: One of the top region quarterfinals in the state pits the No. 9-ranked Vikings against the No. 5 Barons (No. 2 in the Times poll). SPC's Catherine DuPont (20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds) has capped a spectacular career with a sensational senior season. Last season, she led SPC to the state final. But the first step this season is tough because Bishop Verot was upset in the 3A-12 final by Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Fort Pierce Lincoln Park or Avon Park.
Vero Beach St. Edward's (15-9) at Northside Chr. (14-10)
THE SKINNY: The Mustangs erupted for 24 points in the fourth quarter to beat top-seeded Keswick Christian 55-49 in the 2A-11 final. With St. Edward's making the across-the-state trek, Northside has a good chance to extend its season for at least one more game. Sara Wallace, Megan Armstrong and Ali Fogle combined for 45 of Northside's 55 in the 2A-11 final.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Orlando First Academy or Lakeland Christian.
Keswick Chr. (16-10) at North Palm Beach Benjamin (23-5)
THE SKINNY: Keswick's loss to Northside Christian in the 2A-11 final could prove crippling to its hopes of getting back to the state final. North Palm Beach is almost four hours by bus, and the Buccaneers are ranked No. 5 in the state. Without Kristin Mock, Keswick couldn't hold off Northside. The Crusaders must regroup quickly and play their best or they'll be moving on to spring sports. Anne Grabill is averaging 6.7 assists a game for Keswick.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Tampa Prep or Daytona Beach Father Lopez.
Sarasota Out-of-Door (9-9) at Indian Rocks Chr. (4-21)
THE SKINNY: Though it has struggled all season, IRC wrested the A-9 title from Canterbury 49-38, and has the home court tonight. Senior Amy Johansen is averaging 16.4 points a game to lead the Golden Eagles. IRC's record won't scare anyone, but the home court could put them over the top against the Thunder.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Fort Myers Canterbury or Morningside Academy.
THE SKINNY: The Crusaders are decided underdogs tonight. After finishing second in the two-team district tournament to Indian Rocks Christian, which had just three wins in 24 games before the final, Canterbury travels to the No. 4-ranked team in the state. Staying competitive is the goal.
MOVING ON: The winner plays Jupiter Christian or Naples Community School.
-- Compiled by Pete Young.