St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Dad's happy! Hernando gets past Clay in OT

Stephanie Freeman's last-second shot propels the Leopards into the regional final and fulfills a promise.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2001

BROOKSVILLE -- In four years as a starter, Hernando's Stephanie Freeman had never hit a game-winner.

In playing close to 100 games, in scoring more than 1,000 points, the senior center had never known the joy of putting a game away with a last-second shot.

That all changed Tuesday. "I've been waiting for one of those my whole life," Freeman said. "My dad always says, "Wouldn't it be great just to have one game-winner?' And I'd say, "I promise, Daddy. I'll get you one."

Freeman made good on that promise with 1.5 seconds left in overtime, grabbing Carmen Byrd's missed shot and banking it in to give the Leopards a wild 52-50 win over Green Cove Springs Clay in a Class 4A regional semifinal.

All four of Hernando's overtime baskets came on offensive putbacks -- two by Byrd, one by Bernice Mosby and Freeman's final shot -- as it pulled in six offensive rebounds. "I think that's how we all play together, Carmen, Bernice and I," said Freeman, who celebrated her final home game with her teammates at midcourt. "If one of us misses, we know the other two will be there to back us up."

They needed each other Tuesday as Byrd and Mosby played all 36 minutes and Freeman nearly that against a tough Clay frontcourt. Mosby, who scored 19 of her game-high 25 points after halftime, played most of the game on a badly sprained right ankle.

"It was hurting bad," Mosby said. "(Byrd and Freeman) are always coming through for us. I was going to snatch the ball out of Stephanie's hands at the end of the game, but I'm glad I didn't."

Byrd opened the overtime by scoring off of a Freeman miss. Mosby, who scored the Leopards' final bucket in regulation on a putback, added another for a four-point lead. After Clay ralled to tie it in the final minute, Ellen Widboom was fouled and went to the line with 36 seconds left. Widboom, who had seven steals, missed both free throws. But Mosby got the rebound, missed a shot, got her own rebound, missed again and Byrd banked in a shot to give Hernando a 50-48 lead. Kim Martin, who had tied the game with a three-pointer with 47 seconds left in regulation and brought Clay (19-9) back with another three in overtime, was fouled on a three-point attempt with 20 seconds remaining.

With the crowd at its loudest, Martin missed her first attempt then hit the last two to tie it. "The crowd was unbelievable toward the end," Freeman said. "It was great. The crowd pumped us up, and that's exactly what we needed. We needed something to kick-start us, to say, "Come on, ladies, let's get this through."

The Leopards (23-3) called a timeout with 9.5 seconds left. Widboom inbounded the ball to Mosby, who passed to Byrd. Her driving layup banked wide of the basket and into Freeman's hands for the winning basket. "How many times does that beat you in the close game like that?" Clay coach Frank Wickes said. "Oftentimes, it's not the shot. It's the rebound. This one was really close, and they got that last rebound."

Hernando can celebrate its win, but its next game is a sobering one. Now one win away from their second final four in three years, it travels Saturday to face Titusville Astronaut, a 30-1 team ranked second in the state that hammered Hudson 68-30 on Tuesday.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

Devil Rays/baseball
  • Yan, Sturtze seek finishing touch
  • Naimoli still sticking with five-year plan
  • Sheffield will not rule out Rays
  • Professional baseball roundup

  • Motorsports
  • Wells leads push for safety device
  • Earnhardt's son to race Sunday at Rockingham

  • Lightning/NHL
  • Lightning earns unlikely win
  • 'Cornerstones' being laid
  • NHL roundup

  • Colleges
  • Donovan works himself into a feverish state
  • Semrau will miss senior women
  • Conference comes down to the finish
  • Tonight: South Florida at UAB
  • Tonight: no. 7 Florida vs. no. 12 Ole Miss
  • Gritty Gators focused on tough finish

  • Et cetera
  • Sports briefs
  • NFL roundup
  • NBA roundup

  • Outdoors
  • Captain's corner

  • Preps
  • Wildcats outlast Bulldogs
  • Rams use 10-run third inning to keep Buccaneers winless
  • The Jesuit dynasty
  • Boys soccer semifinals
  • Ex-coach set to be honored
  • Even in defeat, Warder ends career on positive note
  • Dad's happy! Hernando gets past Clay in OT
  • Familiar face rejoins Tigers' efforts for title
  • Boca Ciega squeaks past Wharton
  • Butter and Bomber too slick for Tampa Prep
  • Young Rams can't recover, lose by nine
  • Late rally falls short as SPC's season ends
  • Boys basketball regional games
  • Flustered Eagles fall to Sailors
  • Let JV travel, coaches say

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts