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CLEARWATER — Lakewood held on in the final minutes Friday night to defeat Clearwater 34-31. After a slow start that saw the teams combine for only 14 points in the first quarter, the Spartans pulled away to take an 18-12 lead at halftime.
Lakewood led the remainder of the game but got some resistance from a late Clearwater surge.
After trailing by as many as 12 points, the Tornadoes cut the lead to one with 24 seconds remaining. Their defense forced turnovers from a Lakewood offense that had displayed solid ball control for most of the game.
But the Spartans (4-2) made their free-throw attempts and that left Clearwater down three with only three seconds remaining to try a halfcourt shot.
“I thought we played a very good three quarters, and then it got sloppy,” Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil said. “In the end we had players cramping up, (but) we did enough to come out of here with a victory. We’ll take it.”
Spartans junior Tianah Alvarado led her team in scoring with 11 points.
For Clearwater (5-3), sophomore Alexandria Alford and junior Aja Jenkins each finished with nine points.
Clearwater finished the game with 13 turnovers to Lakewood’s 11.