ST. PETERSBURG — Jensen Beach coach Cookie Jones knew she had her hands full with Northside Christian. She was especially concerned with Northside’s strength inside.
However, Jensen Beach figured out a way to win a nip-and-tuck contest, edging the Mustangs 45-42 in overtime Tuesday at the Northside Christian Christmas Tournament.
In the first quarter Jensen Beach had three players score at least four points apiece. Meanwhile, Northside Christian was still trying to find its way and trailed 14-6 at the end of the quarter. Jensen Beach continued its dominance on the inside as Andrea Lopez (12 points) and Hanna Cohen (12) controlled the middle. Jensen Beach took a 21-11 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter the Mustangs came out and went on a 26-16 run. During that stretch Rachel Boyette scored 10. She finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
But the Mustangs were down by two going into the fourth. Deja Swinton and Boyette started to heat up and keep the Mustangs in striking distance. Andrea Lopez hit three baskets to propel Jensen Beach to a 37-32 lead.
Northside continued to play catch-up until Swinton nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Ashley Robinson’s steady play was the difference for Jensen Beach in overtime. The point guard went 11-of-12 at the free-throw line to score 19 for the game, and her final four free throws iced the victory for Jensen Beach.
“Our free-throw shooting down the stretch provided us a cushion to win the game,” Jones said. “My team never gave up and we have been overcoming adversity all season long.”
Earlier St. Petersburg Catholic defeated Coral Gables 50-34. The Barons will take on Jensen Beach in the final at 7 tonight.