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Crusaders come up short

By ALEX LYNCH

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 30, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Despite fighting to keep the score close in the fourth quarter, Keswick Christian still found itself trailing 76-73 Thursday night in the championship game of its own tournament.

The Crusaders, desperately in need of a three-pointer to tie, proceeded to botch the inbounds pass and sealed the championship for Providence Christian, which traveled from Atlanta to win the Keswick Christian Suncoast Classic.

Tournament MVP Abigail Snead matched the number on her jersey with 31 points to lead Providence. Providence thoroughly outplayed the Crusaders in the first quarter and took a 22-13 lead.

The second quarter, however, was almost all Keswick Christian behind the play of 6-foot-2 center Kristin Mock, who towered over the Providence team not only in stature, but with her point-scoring and rebounding ability. Mock scored 17 points in the first half and single-handedly kept her team in the game.

But with less than a minute left in the half and holding a 39-37 lead, Providence went on a momentum-turning 6-0 run, culminated by a Kristin Darr breakaway and layup with the horn ending the half as the ball went through the net, giving Providence a 45-37 lead.

With five minutes remaining in the third quarter, an Elizabeth Henter jumper gave Keswick its first lead of the game and capped a 12-4 run by the Crusaders. With 34.7 seconds left in the game, Henter brought the Crusaders to within one at 74-73 following a remarkable play. Falling out of bounds underneath her own basket, Henter passed between a defender's legs to Mock who scored with a layup. To the bewilderment of the fans, the Crusaders waited until 8.2 seconds remained in the game to foul on the ensuing possession. Dana Solava, named to the All-Tournament team, made both free throws for a 76-73 lead.

Karen Braden then was stripped of the ball on the inbounds pass as the Crusaders failed to set up a three-point attempt.

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