ST. PETERSBURG — At halftime Wednesday, St. Petersburg seemingly had everything in its favor.
The Green Devils held Lakewood’s explosive offense to six points in the second quarter. Better still, St. Petersburg finished the first half with a 3-pointer from Paige Lewis to go ahead 26-25.
Then momentum changed with two quick fouls.
Both were called on Kamika Idom, the Green Devils’ top playmaker. Idom, who had picked up three personal fouls in the first half, was suddenly out of the game.
The Spartans took advantage of her absence, rallying to win 58-41.
“I knew Kamika had three fouls at the half, and I made sure every player on my team did, too,” Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil said. “She’s an aggressive player and we had to take it to her. There were calls that could go either way. We just had to drive and finish things.”
Despite not having its leader, St. Petersburg (12-3) still was able to stay in the game and held a 32-27 lead midway through the third quarter. But the offense faltered with missed layups on three straight possessions.
“There were people who wanted to step up (in Idom’s absence), but they were not sure how to do it,” Green Devils coach Tamika Coley said. “We had shots, but different people had to take those shots and we didn’t finish.”
The inability to score proved costly as the Spartans (12-3) went on a 14-1 run to seize control. The catalyst for the comeback was Taye’lor Trotter, who was efficient around the basket and finished with a team-high 22 points.
“Taye’lor has been a very consistent player for us all year,” Tunsil said. “She understands she has to step up and be a leader.”
The Spartans have now beaten their three biggest county rivals, Boca Ciega, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and are the front-runner to represent the south division in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game.