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4A region basketball: Jefferson 70, Lakewood Ranch 38

TAMPA — A week Jefferson coach Jim Baxter deemed "miserable" seemed to be reaching a disheartening culmination Thursday. Both of his point guard's ankles were throbbing. So was Lakewood Ranch's momentum.

"I was in a lot of pain," senior Laurie' Beaty said.

Then, almost inexplicably, Beaty's limp — and her team's listlessness — seemed to vanish.

Leading by four with 4:46 to play in the third period of the Class 4A region quarterfinals, the Dragons (27-1) embarked on a 20-3 run to end the half and the Mustangs' season. By game's end, four Dragons had scored in double figures in a 70-38 romp.

"We've had better weeks of practice and preparation," Baxter said. "I told them it's just been a miserable week, and that if they didn't turn back into themselves I wouldn't be alone in my misery. "

Junior Shayla Upshaw initiated the run by converting three-point plays on consecutive possessions. By the time her 3-point prayer banked in at the third-period horn, Jefferson had a 51-30 lead.

With Beaty (10 points) clearly favoring the right ankle she hurt moments into the game, Jefferson nonetheless went on a 13-0 run to take a 29-19 lead at intermission

Forty-eight seconds into the second half, Beaty injured her left ankle. A Dragons technical foul assessed at the same time resulted in a Tiffany Waters free throw that cut the hosts' lead to 29-22.

The lead dwindled to six with six minutes to go in the third. Another pair of Mustangs free throws made it 31-27.

Upshaw (10 points) then began her team's upswing. Shayla Wilson led all scorers with 22.

4A region basketball: Jefferson 70, Lakewood Ranch 38 02/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 12:15am]
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