TAMPA — Steinbrenner scored a victory three years in the making Wednesday night, as the Warriors beat Sickles 61-52 for first time in the school’s short history.
“This is our rival, and they’ve killed us every year,” said junior Bailey Hooker, who led all players with 21 points and 12 rebounds. “Especially for our seniors, it was really important for them to come out and get this win in their last time playing on this court.”
Steinbrenner (13-2) jumped out to a 37-14 lead thanks in part to 13 points from Hooker. The Gryphons (13-5), though, kept chipping away in the second half. Sickles ended the third quarter on a 13-6 run and started strong in the fourth quarter, too, cutting the lead to 10 with an 11-1 run.
A 3-pointer from senior guard Bre Crum — who drew the biggest crowd reaction when she picked up her dislodged contact from the court and put it immediately back in her eye — made it 53-43 with 4:22 remaining.
After a Warriors timeout, Hooker hit a 3-point shot of her own — her third of the night — and the Warriors prevailed.
“We weren’t finishing under the basket,” Hooker said of Sickles’ second-half comeback. “We laid off a little bit on defense, but we got it.”
Freshman forward Rachel Briere added 12 points for Steinbrenner. The Gryphons were paced by 17 from sophomore guard Kassidy Girdler and 16 from Crum.