CLEARWATER — Palm Harbor University and Calvary Christian got through the early part of their seasons without being tested. That changed Tuesday night when the Hurricanes and Warriors challenged each other for four quarters.
Led by 23 points from Megan Ingram, 19 of which came in the second half, PHU outlasted Calvary 53-48 to improve to 8-0. The Warriors (4-1) suffered their first loss of the season.
“I told the girls that we had to come to play,” Hurricanes coach Darian Dublin said. “They always say they want respect, and you get respect by playing well against a good team like Calvary.”
The Hurricanes led 25-21 at halftime thanks to eight points from Chardonay Aldrich, including two 3-pointers. Amber Jennings and Julia Ingram each chipped in with five points.
Even though the Hurricanes led by four, they could not contain Calvary’s Savannah Plentovich in the first half. She had 13 points and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Things were different in the second half.
Calvary built a 32-27 lead midway through the third quarter thanks to an 8-0 run on four points each by Savannah and Carley Plentovich. But three straight layups by Megan Ingram gave PHU a 33-32 lead.
The lead changed six times from there. Early in the fourth quarter the Warriors led 41-40 before PHU went on a 7-0 run.
Megan Ingram made a layup and two free throws and Julia Ingram hit a 3-pointer to make it 47-41. Calvary’s Kasey Howard made a 3-pointer to cut it to 47-44, but Aldrich made two straight layups with less than a minute left to ice the game.
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates finding me,” Megan Ingram said. “I just tried to post up big and make a move. I think we were all clicking more in the second half.”
Dublin said his team had to get Ingram going underneath in order to win.
“I kind of had a talk with her at halftime,” he said. “… I told her to forget that first half and settle down. She really dominated the third quarter.”
Savannah Plentovich led Calvary with 23 points. Howard added 10. Aldrich had 12 points for PHU.