District girls basketball: Crystal River 48, Weeki Wachee 43
WEEKI WACHEE – After needing overtime just to get to the Class 6A, District 7 championship game, Crystal River survived another scare on Friday night.
Host Weeki Wachee pushed the Pirates to the limit before succumbing to top-seeded Crystal River, 48-43.
“We played hard, but sometimes the shots just don’t go down,” Weeki Wachee coach Mike Munro said. “These girls didn’t come here to finish in second place though, and you can see how disappointed they are.”
The Hornets (20-8) were led by sophomore Seytia Hill. The power forward posted 14 points and 17 rebounds in the first half alone as Weeki Wachee went back-and-forth on the scoreboard. In the second half, she sat for extended periods of time, but still finished with 21 points, 21 rebounds and two blocks.
The difference was the full-court pressure enforced by Crystal River (19-1). The Pirates stole the ball 18 times, compared to 12 from the Hornets. Sophomore Zahria Jenkins was the catalyst for both the defense and offense, forcing a team-high seven steals on the way to 15 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots.
Crystal River held a 44-38 lead with less than two minutes on the fourth-quarter clock, but the Hornets refused to roll over.
Sophomore Shayleese Vazquez (10 points, 12 rebounds), who also recorded seven steals, helped cut the lead to 44-41. A 3-point attempt by senior Taylor Miller (eight points, eight rebounds) with 23 seconds left would have tied the score, but it rattled off the rim.
The Pirates had swept the season series with Weeki Wachee, winning both meetings by double figures.
Even with the loss, the Hornets advance to the region playoffs for the first time in school history. The team will travel to Anclote on Thursday for a Class 6A region quarterfinal.
“We just have to get back to practice and regroup,” Hill said. “We left a lot out on the court (Friday night), but we have a chance to do something big next week.”