Girls district basketball roundup: Green Devils rely on defense

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Wed. January 30, 2013 | Rodney Page | Email

ST. PETERSBURG — Clearwater and St. Petersburg will play for the Class 7A-10 district championship, but both teams advanced to the final in different ways. St. Petersburg started slowly but eventually wore out Countryside 57-17. Clearwater sputtered for most of its game against Northeast but got hot in the third quarter and won 46-41.

The Green Devils stymied Countryside and put the game away in the second half. Jordan Berenbaum was too much for the Cougars in the first half. She scored 16 of her 18 in the first two quarters, mostly on short shots in the lane and at the line.

In the second half, St. Petersburg held Countryside to just four points.

Michael LaShon Everhart scored 12 for St. Petersburg and Brinesha Myrick added 11. Countryside’s Ivey Green had seven points.

In the second game, Clearwater led only 20-10 at halftime. But the Tornadoes took off in the third quarter, outscoring Northeast 20-7 and taking a 40-17 lead into the fourth quarter.

Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt pulled most of his starters in the fourth quarter, and Northeast mounted a late comeback. The Vikings, behind the sharp shooting of Laura Fizell and Felicia Waithe and free throws from Aspen Hedges, outscored Clearwater 24-6 in the fourth quarter.

“We had things kind of in control so we had a chance to play some other players,” Shaneyfelt said. “Then things got a little physical and we didn’t handle it too well.”

The Tornadoes were led by 11 points each from Tyra Bolden and Maddie Rubino. Fizell had 12 to lead Northeast.

6A-10: Top-seeded Spongers fall behind early in loss

TRINITY — River Ridge upset top seed Tarpon Springs 46-35 Wednesday then host Mitchell avoided a Land O’Lakes challenge to win 42-32 in the other 6A-10 semifinal.

The upstart Royal Knights (15-10) will play Mitchell to decide the district title.

Sophomore Leah Ford scored 17 to lead fourth-seeded River Ridge. She came up big in the third quarter, hitting three straight field goals to turn a four-point halftime lead into a 26-16 advantage. Tarpon never got the margin below six.

“We had trouble with their press when we played them before,” Ford said. “But we played our game tonight. We felt the pressure a little, though.”

Tarpon Springs had gone through district play 8-0 mark. Kadejah Saunders did her best to get the Spongers (15-5) back in the game, scoring 14 of her 16 in the second half.

Jalynn Hoolihan spearheaded the Knights’ defense and had a critical basket to restore the margin to 10 with three minutes left. Carly Wallace scored nine including two big free throws after Tarpon had gotten within 39-33.

The Spongers were up 6-2 early but then gave up a 9-0 run and never saw the lead again.

“We’re a team that takes the ball to the basket, and we didn’t do that tonight,” said Tarpon coach Stephanie Walden. “We’re not a jumpshooting team. The last three games we did not play good ball.”

Saunders had five second-half field goals. The rest of her team combined to make two. Yasmine Morris gave the Spongers life with her fastbreak basket that pulled them within 10 at the five-minute mark.

Then Saunders made it 39-33 with 2:20 left, grabbing an offensive rebound and throwing up an off-balance shot. But River Ridge responded with two free throws and Tarpon missed on its next possession.

Class 6A-12: Palmetto 48, Osceola 47: Top seed Osceola was eliminated from the postseason. The Warriors (16-11) had one final shot at the buzzer, but it fell short. Katie Horan led Osceola with 26 points, including six 3-pointers. She ends the season with 83 3s made. Brooke Sponheimer added 13 points.

Lakewood Ranch 61, Dixie Hollins 49: Dixie Hollins fell behind 39-18 at halftime and never recovered. Meagan Thomas led the Rebels with 34 points. Haley Martz added 12. Lakewood Ranch will play Palmetto in the district final Friday night.

Class 5A-12: Lakewood 43, Bradenton Bayshore 32: In what Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil called a “hard game to get into,” the Spartans managed to advance to the district final. Lakewood led by only six points at halftime before doing just enough in the second half to hold on. Lakewood (20-3) will play at home Friday night against Boca Ciega.

“There may have been 10 people in the stands,” Tunsil said. “It was just one of those games. We did what we had to do.”

Boca Ciega 57, Bradenton Southeast 47:  The Pirates got 21 points from Niaya White, including 13-of-18 from the free-throw line, to upset No. 2 seed Southeast. Kenya Joseph added 11 points, and Destiny Brown had nine before fouling out.

“It’s one of the biggest wins we’ve had here in a long time,” Boca Ciega coach Michael Hall said. “We made the shots when we had to. We’d go up by 10 or so, then they would cut it to within five and we’d make big baskets to keep the lead.”

The win sets up a third game against Lakewood in the district final. The Pirates have not beaten Lakewood this season.

“They have the best coach and the best player (Tianah Alvarado),” Hall said. “We have to be perfect to beat them.”

Correspondent Darek Sharp contributed to this report.

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