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Girls region basketball: Tampa Catholic's Jones hits last-second winner in OT to take 4A semifinal

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Wed. February 15, 2012 | Brandon Wright

Girls region basketball: Tampa Catholic's Jones hits last-second winner in OT to take 4A semifinal

TAMPA — It was a shot Kai Jones had made in her sleep thousands of times, but that didn’t mean the senior’s nerves weren’t a bit frazzled.

“It swirled around (the rim) a little,” Jones said. “I had to make it because I don’t think I could have taken another four minutes (of overtime).”

Jones’ uncontested layup with three seconds remaining lifted Tampa Catholic to a 55-53 overtime win against Holy Names in a 4A region semifinal Tuesday.

“It was like a calm state of adrenaline,” said Jones, who scored a game-high 27.

With 10.6 seconds remaining, Brittany Betts (13 points) stole an errant inbounds pass. Betts took three dribbles and fired upcourt to a streaking Jones, whose uncontested layup just beat the buzzer.

“I looked up and the ball was in my hands and I saw Kai,” Betts said. “Yeah, I was a little anxious.”

It was the fourth time Tampa Catholic (20-9) has beaten AHN (18-7) this season.

“It’s awful hard to beat a team four times. I think there’s a four times jinx or something,” TC coach Nancy Kroll said. “They kept shooting 3s and that kept them in the game.”

AHN fell behind 15-2 in the first quarter but rallied to take a 28-24 halftime lead. The Jaguars again trailed by seven with just more than three minutes to play but eventually tied it at 48 on an Amanda McWilliams (team-high 14 points) 3-pointer, sending the game into overtime.

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