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Late rally falls short as SPC's season ends

A desperation shot by Lincoln Park's LaQuita Ball deflates Barons in 51-46 loss in regional semifinal

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Last week, St. Petersburg Catholic needed a buzzer-beating shot by Catherine DuPont to keep its season alive.

On Tuesday, another buzzer-beater ended it.

Although it did not come at the end of the game, LaQuita Ball's desperation half-court shot at the end of the third quarter deflated the Barons as they lost to Ft. Pierce Lincoln Park Academy 51-46 in the Class 3A, Region 3 semifinals.

The shot came two seconds after DuPont made a layup to cut St. Petersburg Catholic's deficit to 34-32.

Then, Ball received the inbounds pass, dribbled once and threw up her shot that banked in off the backboard.

Instead of trailing by two, the Barons trailed by five going into the fourth quarter.

"That shot was huge," St. Petersburg Catholic coach Nick Vanderwalle said. "It was really hard to come back from that."

The Barons continued to fall behind as the Greyhounds scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to go ahead 43-32.

After calling timeout, St. Petersburg Catholic (26-4) began a furious rally and went on a 14-6 run to trail 49-46 with a minute remaining. The Barons had an opportunity to tie, but opted for two layup attempts that bounced off the rim. Lincoln Park Academy got the rebound, the foul and the free-throw attempts to seal it.

"I think we matched up even with them," Vanderwalle said. "If we played three times, it might be different each time. And tonight, if you take away that three-pointer, it's a totally different game."

Ball's half-court shot was her third three-pointer of the game. She led all scorers with 21 points. In all, Lincoln Park Academy shot 60 percent from the field.

"We did a good job handling their speed and I thought we made Ball work for her points," Vanderwalle said. "But I didn't anticipate everyone shooting so well for them (Lincoln Park). Watching them on tape and getting scouting reports, I did not think they were a good shooting team.

"They did hit some big shots, though."

DuPont had 20 points and Becky Tapp had 14 to lead St. Petersburg Catholic.

"I'm proud of the girls' effort," Vanderwalle said.

"They never even thought they were going to lose and played with their hearts."

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