SEMINOLE — If there was rampant optimism before Osceola’s girls basketball game against St. Petersburg, it was understandable.
The Warriors entered Tuesday’s home game with a 5-1 record, including wins against Gibbs and Seminole, teams they had struggled with for years.
This was a chance for Osceola to gauge its progress against the Green Devils, who have established themselves as one of the county’s premier programs the past three seasons.
The mood was quickly deflated. St. Petersburg used relentless pressure and balance on offense to cruise to a 60-32 victory.
“I really didn’t know much about Osceola coming into the game,” Green Devils coach Tamika Coley said. “All I could go by were the scores in the paper. I know their only loss was to Boca Ciega and they seemed to be an aggressive team.
“We were able to get a jump on them early.”
From the start, the Warriors never mounted much of an attack or certainly one with any consistency. That was due in large part to St. Petersburg’s press, which forced turnovers that became easy baskets in transition.
“I like to start pressing the first two-three minutes of a game to see who can basically handle it,” Coley said.
The Green Devils (4-0) opened up with a 7-0 lead and were ahead 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
About the only scare St. Petersburg had in the first half was when point guard Paige Lewis went down after a hard foul and had to be helped off the court with a injury to her right knee and did not return. Coley said there was no swelling and it appeared Lewis just had a bruise.
The Green Devils made up for Lewis’ absence by spreading the ball. At halftime, St. Petersburg was ahead 36-15 and had eight players who scored.
“It was big for us to get as many players involved as we did,” Coley said. “It helps in case we have people in foul trouble and gives us a chance to let everyone play. We did a good job of moving the ball around.”
Kamika Idom led the Green Devils with 13 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Osceola’s Hannah Demarest, who scored her 1,000th career point last week, scored a team-high 19.
“We had a lot of high hopes and knew we were playing a good team,” Demarest said. “We just needed to get off to a better start and minimize the mistakes.”