INDIAN ROCKS — Indian Rocks Christian coach Phil Farver said he wanted to see more intensity out of his team against Sarasota. The Golden Eagles fought tooth and nail, storming back from an 11-point deficit in the second quarter Friday but lost steam in the fourth, falling 48-41 in the semifinals of the IRC Thanksgiving Tournament.
“(Sarasota is) a real physical team,” Farver said. “We’ve had problems in the past combating physical teams, and I thought we did a nice job of matching physicality tonight with that.”
Down 20-9, IRC struggled in man-to-man defense, switching to zone and holding Sarasota to three second-quarter points. Tori Trador hit consecutive 3-pointers, catapulting IRC on a 14-0 run and taking a 23-20 halftime lead. Trador finished with 10 points and two steals.
IRC struggled with second-chance points, utilizing its height advantage with offensive rebounding but was unable to capitalize.
“We battled back very hard and I thought our girls played very well defensively,” Farver said. “We missed a couple of putbacks and that’s the difference in the ball game.”
Going into the fourth quarter tied at 31 IRC began to tire, resulting in sloppy turnovers and missed opportunities. Sarasota’s Juliana Cavallaro dropped a 3-pointer and a couple of uncontested layups. Kelly Jurtas finished with a game-high 16 points.
In the earlier semifinal, Clearwater cruised to a 59-41 victory over Tampa Catholic and will face Sarasota in the final. The Tornadoes led by as many as 30, receiving huge contributions from leading scorers Alexandra Alford (13) and Tyra Bolden (12).