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Girls region basketball: Tarpon Springs bows out

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Thu. February 9, 2012 | Basil Spyridakos

TARPON SPRINGS — Tarpon Springs had a strict plan in place against Lakeland Kathleen, and the scheme was working well throughout the first quarter Thursday. Crisp passing and sound decision making helped the Spongers earn a 10-9 lead.  Then the second quarter began.

Turnovers plagued Tarpon Springs in a 43-24 loss in the Class 6A region quarterfinals. The Spongers haven’t advanced to the region semis since 1984.

“We didn’t stick with the game plan, but that’s just a little nerves from them being young,” Tarpon coach Stephanie Walden said. “In tight games, we have to stick with the game plan.”

Kathleen (17-9) pressed Tarpon on every possession, trapping the Spongers and forcing ill-advised passes while earning manageable points on the other end. Tarpon had 20 turnovers.

“(Kathleen’s) defense was pretty good,” said Zoe Lekakis, who finished with a team-high 15 points and six rebounds. “We turned the ball over quite a few times and that’s what hurt us a lot.”

Destiny Small scored at will, leading Kathleen with a game-high 17 points. Tarpon (17-13) struggled to slow down Small and My’Esha Williams, who used their height advantage to dominate the low post.

Walden is optimistic Tarpon, which loses just two seniors, will return with greater results.

“I think we’re going to be a lot better (next season),” Walden said. “I’m just so proud of these girls and it was a great season.”

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