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CLEARWATER — Angel Brown grabbed the ball and sprinted downcourt. St. Petersburg trailed Class 7A-10 rival Clearwater by two Monday with less than 10 seconds left in regulation. Brown had to get off a shot, any kind of shot.
What she didn’t expect was the kind of shot she got.
Brown sliced through the Tornadoes’ fatigued defense and scored an easy layup with two seconds left to tie the game at 43 and send it into overtime. With momentum clearly on their side, the Green Devils outscored the Tornadoes 12-2 in overtime and won 55-45.
It was Clearwater’s first loss of the season.
“I knew we’d have to hurry up,” Brown said. “We had to take it to the hole and get either a foul or a basket. When I got the ball, all I thought about was putting it in.”
From the beginning, St. Petersburg (8-4) hounded Clearwater (11-1) with a fullcourt press defense and solid defensive rebounding. The Green Devils jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter thanks to the rebounding of Jordan Berenbaum and scoring from Brown, Brinesha Myrick and Simone Wilson.
Clearwater battled back to tie it at 17 at halftime when Alex Alford and Tyra Bolden started scoring. The Tornadoes continued to break the Green Devils’ press in the third quarter and grabbed a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Alford, Bolden and Aja Jenkins continued to get layups for Clearwater and halfway through the fourth held a five-point lead. But St. Petersburg would not go away. With 1:38 left, a Brown layup cut the lead to 38-37.
Then with 30 seconds left, a Wilson layup tied the game at 41. Jenkins broke the tie with 10 seconds left when she made a layup and was fouled. But she missed the free throw, which set up Brown’s heroics.
In overtime, Wilson hit a layup and Jenkins hit a layup of her own. But St. Petersburg went on a 10-0 run in the final three minutes to put the game away.
“We wanted to slow them down, tire them out some,” said St. Petersburg coach Tamika Coley, who earned her first win over Clearwater since coming to St. Petersburg four years ago. “When you have to think about things the entire game, it wears you out. We hoped that by the fourth quarter we would be able to gain momentum.”
Brown led the Green Devils with 15 points. Wilson had 13 and Berenbaum added 11. Clearwater was led by Jenkins, who had 14. Alford had 13.
“We just missed some free throws down the stretch, made some mistakes,” Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. “We’ve just gotta get better.”