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.