ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil had a one-word description for her team’s 45-35 win over Boca Ciega on Wednesday night in the Class 5A-12 semifinal.
“Horrible,” she said.
Think about how Boca Ciega feels.
At least the Spartans have advanced to the district final, Friday night at Lakewood. The Pirates’ season is over, and so to is the school’s 19-year streak of reaching a district final.
Lakewood’s “horrible” win is the third straight over Boca Ciega this season. The Spartans (16-10) grabbed a first-half lead and never gave it up. The Pirates used an aggressive defense to hang on in the first quarter and trailed only 11-8.
But Lakewood went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter thanks to a fullcourt press and layups from Shineice Beamon, Kasey Drayton and Mimi Flowers. Boca Ciega (17-10) never really got close after that.
“From there, those eight points felt like 16,” Boca Ciega coach Michael Hall said. “They were more experienced. It was just one of those nights where they got up by eight and we couldn’t chip away.”
That’s not to say the Pirates didn’t try. With 2:31 left in the third quarter, a Jakera Allen layup cut the lead to six. But Drayton got to work and scored five of the next seven points to keep the Pirates behind.
Drayton ended with a team high 12 points. Flowers added nine. Boca Ciega was led by Destiny Brown, who scored 14 points, and Kenya Joseph, who scored 11.
Tunsil had a chat with her team after the game, just to remind them every game counts from here on.
“This was just one those nights where I think the girls were looking to Southeast a little too much,” Tunsil said. “I’m just disappointed in general.”