District girls basketball: Anclote 38, River Ridge 34
DADE CITY — The top two seeds squared off Friday night at Pasco in a rematch of last season’s Class 6A, District 8 final. Anclote defended its title with a 38-34 win over River Ridge, a rival it lost to twice during the regular season.
The Sharks (21-4) actually found their spark to make another championship run during Wednesday’s narrow 41-39 semifinal win over host Pasco, a game in which they overcame an 11-point deficit.
“It was during the Pasco game,” said first-year Anclote coach Brittany Szunko, who was at Lecanto last season. “I reminded the girls about last year’s championship. It gave them that spark and kind of gave them a lift.”
There were four lead changes early, but an 8-0 run in the second quarter enabled the Sharks to build an 18-11 lead they would not relinquish. Anclote led by five at halftime and at the end of the third quarter before an explosive final quarter in which the teams combined for 25 points.
River Ridge (16-9) trailed by seven points twice in the second half, but pulled within three on three occasions and in the final minute cut that deficit to two (34-32) on Catalina Gutierrez’s putback of a missed free throw by teammate Jayde Doucette.
Lyndsey Mcwhorter made all four of her free throws in the final minute to clinch it for the Sharks.
“I knew Mcwhorter would be at the line. I trust her,” Szunko said.
Gabby Uscategui led the Sharks with 10 points and Mcwhorter scored nine. Teammates Breanna Williams and Kaitlin Manning each added seven.
For the Knights, Gutierrez scored a game-high 12 points with Doucette adding 11, all of which came in the second half and included eight straight points in the fourth quarter.