CLEARWATER — It was a clash between two undefeated teams, and the promise for a close game was teased after the end of the first quarter with one team up by just one point.
But Clearwater used a number of big scoring runs to never relinquish the lead again, beating Tarpon Springs 47-26 Friday night.
“I was pleased for an early-season game, especially since Tarpon has three very good guards,” Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. “We are still a little short-handed and a little dinged up. We can play a lot better, and they know that. But overall, I’m very happy.”
The Tornadoes (7-0) shot 42 percent from the floor and took advantage of the Spongers’ 28 percent shooting with 42 team rebounds.
Clearwater was led by Aja Jenkins with 13 boards, and she added 12 points in the win. Keyaira Herring led all scorers with 14 points, while Alex Alford and Tyra Bolden each pitched in seven.
For Tarpon Springs (5-1), Yasmine Morris led the way with seven points and four rebounds, while Zoe Lekakis contributed five points and five rebounds.
Spongers coach Stephanie Walden said her team was simply psyched out by the reputation that precedes Clearwater.
“The girls were going on and on that Clearwater was ranked second, and they just got rattled,” Walden said. “This is not my team. I don’t know who this team was that played tonight.”
Tarpon Springs ended the first quarter with a tight 9-8 lead, but did not score again until 90 seconds into the second quarter while Clearwater dominated with an 18-0 run.
Clearwater continued with a 20-point third quarter, spreading out the points among Herring, Maddie Rubino and Jenkins.
The Spongers tried to come back in the fourth, but could only match what Clearwater offered offensively with just seven points. Bolden helped the Tornadoes defensively with 10 rebounds.