Region girls basketball: Alonso 55, Orlando Oak Ridge 52
TAMPA – For nearly three quarters, Alonso schooled Orlando Oak Ridge. After that, the Ravens learned a lesson that no big lead is safe.
Alonso saw a 23-point lead nearly evaporate in the final seconds before pulling out a 55-52 victory Thursday in a Class 9A region quarterfinal.
"We didn't come to play the fourth quarter, but we fought it out,'' Alonso coach Bamar Lewis said. "We talked (at halftime) that we can't pull up (and) got to continue to put pressure on them. It's winner go home right now. Everybody's going to come to play, so we can't let up.''
Oak Ridge scored the game's first basket, but Alonso (21-6) never trailed after Carly Price's first of four 3-pointers ignited a 12-0 run that got the Ravens going. Two more Price treys led an 11-0 second-quarter surge as Alonso went up 30-14.
Things remained easy for the Ravens after intermission. Another Price 3-pointer in a 15-6 outburst over the first seven minutes extended Alonso's lead to 47-24. But momentum quickly swung to the Pioneers.
Oak Ridge scored 19 of the game's next 21 points to shave Alonso's lead to 49-43 with three minutes remaining, and Alonso was in survival mode. Despite missing 12 of 20 free throws in the game, the Ravens escaped. With 7.8 seconds left and Alonso leading by three, Ariel Scott (15 points) missed a pair of foul shots and Oak Ridge grabbed the rebound and dribbled up the court. But the Pioneers drove the lane (a missed layup) instead of pulling up for a potential tying trey, and Alonso celebrated.
"We didn't execute on our free throws,'' Lewis said. "We've been practicing free throws every single day.''
Alonso made only two of 12 field-goal attempts and committed seven of its 18 turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Ravens shot 33 percent from the field, while holding Oak Ridge to 31-percent shooting.
Kylie Eckerson and Price each scored 12 points for the Ravens.
"Carly is a lights-out shooter,'' Lewis said. "We can always count on her. If she's open, she's knocking it down. A lot of teams know that. She's a distractor on defense. I guess (Oak Ridge) didn't scout her.''