EAST LAKE — If Monday night’s game against East Lake is any indication, Clearwater is going to be a handful for opponents this season. The Tornadoes used a smothering halfcourt defense and a fastbreak offense to bury the Eagles 60-20.
Aja Jenkins led the way with 17 points and Tyra Bolden added 16, mostly layups. Guards Alex Alford and Keyaira Herring each had nine.
“We were trying to make an effort tonight to work on our offensive transition,” coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. “(East Lake) had a rough week last week and I think that was part of the deal. But we wanted to get the ball and run tonight, and that’s what we did.”
The Eagles (2-4) were coming off an emotional win over rival Palm Harbor University on Friday night. But they had no answer for Clearwater’s speed and aggressiveness.
The Tornadoes scored the first 11 points thanks to three Jenkins layups, another by Herring and a 3-pointer by Alford. East Lake had trouble getting off a shot and trailed 17-4 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle, with the Eagles winning the quarter 5-4. Trailing 21-9 at halftime, there was still a chance East Lake could claw back into the game.
That chance faded at the start of the third quarter. The Tornadoes (10-0) went back to their aggressive offense and scored the first eight points to take a 29-9 lead. After two straight layups by the Eagles’ Bryanna Joslyn, Clearwater scored the final 11 points of the quarter and led 43-14.
Clearwater continued to roll in the fourth, with Bolden and Jenkins controlling the inside and Herring and Alford shooting from the outside. The Tornadoes had seven of eight players score.
East Lake was led by Joslyn, who scored 12. Emily Dine added five points.
“They just have so much speed,” East Lake coach Steve Plummer said. “We’re still trying to work on some things. We’ll be a much better team by the end of the season.”