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SEBASTIAN — Clearwater’s hopes of getting back to the state final four were dashed Saturday night, as the Tornadoes fell 67-52 to Sebastian River in a Class 7A region final.
The Sharks nabbed their first region final win after consecutive defeats in the same round.
“It’s the first time ever, so the third time is the charm,” Sharks coach Terri Amy said. “It has taken a lot. A lot of these seniors have been starters since freshman year. They worked their butts off for this. They are playing through some pain and working hard for it.”
K.P. Pound led the Sharks with 18 points, and Brittany Jackson added 16.
The Sharks (23-3) took a 22-10 lead after the first quarter. Five players scored in the second quarter as the Sharks outscored the Tornadoes 14-5 and took a 36-15 lead at the half.
After nine turnovers in the first half, the Tornadoes (22-7) fought back and outscored the Sharks 16-14 in the third. The smoldering Sharks shooters led by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter.
“It was hard to get into our stuff,” Tornadoes coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. “We got into the rut of getting into our set and needed to call timeouts because we couldn’t hear. We just got down and got frustrated because they are a very hard team to defend.”
Alex Alford and Aja Jenkins each scored 16 to lead Clearwater.
“It feels great,” Jackson said. “I never thought it, but I always had the dream that I knew I could do it. Now we are here, now I’m trying to win a state championship. We have to move on to the next goal.”