ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s game against Clearwater ready to play one of the county’s best. The Spartans used their quickness and superior athletes to secure a 55-48 victory.
The Spartans jumped on the Tornadoes early, taking a 10-2 lead early in the first quarter. However, things seemed to slow down for the Spartans, as they went scoreless for nearly four minutes and Clearwater tied the score at 10 at the end of the first.
Lakewood started to pull away but Clearwater would not lay down. But thanks to the torrid 3-point shooting of Tianah Alvarado, who led the Spartans with 27 points including four 3-pointers, the Spartans took a 25-19 lead into the locker room. She had 15 points by halftime.
“We beat a good team tonight,” Alvarado said. “I made it my business to get to the basket. I had to redeem my from a previous game in which I did not perform well.”
After the break Lakewood made several quick baskets go up by 11 and the Spartans appeared to be in control.
They continued their dominance with great defense and interior play. The Spartans had maintained a comfortable cushion, but the Tornadoes started to slowly creep back into the game.
Clearwater cut into a 13-point deficit, pulling within three, but then Lakewood’s defense took over, making hustle plays and timely baskets.
“Clearwater is well coached and had a lot of fight left,” Spartans coach Necole Tunsil said. “We are young and we let up on defense and allowed them to creep back into the game.”
Emma Loucks led the Tornadoes with 16 points.