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Girls basketball: Seffner Christian 73, Tampa Catholic 61



TAMPA — It was a clash between two of the area’s best girls basketball teams, featuring drastically different styles: speedy, guard-driven Seffner Christian vs. low-post strong Tampa Catholic.

When the final horn sounded Monday night, it was Seffner Christian’s speed that came out on top, 73-61.

“We knew that we would have to have our full-court game in full force to beat Tampa Catholic,” Seffner Christian coach Joe Cooper said. “We like to get after it and I thought we really did that tonight.”

In the process, TC (22-2 and ranked No. 2 in the Times' HomeTeam 25) often struggled to get the ball up the floor and ended up losing 29 turnovers, including 18 in the first half.

“Our execution was terrible,” TC coach Matt Rocha said. “I think too many times we forced passes to (TC leading scorer, forward Alise Davis). Our spacing (on offensive plays) wasn’t good.”

From the start, Seffner Christian (24-1 and ranked No. 1 in the HomeTeam 25) looked more in synch, ending the first quarter with a 20-10 lead.

After that, TC cut the gap to single digits a few times, but never fewer than seven points.

“I was happy with the way we kept up the pressure,” Cooper said. “I thought we also did a good job on Davis (with front and backside double teams).”

Davis still ended up leading all scorers with 22 points, while Seffner Christian spread its scoring out with four players in double figures: Chelsie Hall (16), Avree Carpenter (16), Brylee Bartram (15) and Nykeria Reed (13).

Both coaches said they felt Monday’s experience would make their teams better heading into the upcoming playoffs where both Seffner Christian (in Class 4A) and TC (in Class 5A) are considered favorites to reach their respective state final fours.

“I’m sure we will learn from this,” Rocha said. “I’m glad we played this game.”

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