TAMPA — Ultimately, she knew the dispute was lost.
But Tampa Bay Tech coach Heather Glezen saw an opportunity to win and made a nice coaching move — sternly debating with a referee long enough to delay the game.
It proved to be the Titans' motivator down the stretch of a 48-35 win against Wharton.
Wharton had cut a 12-point deficit to four, but the Titans went on a 11-2 run to close the game and reach the final against Armwood tonight at 7.
TBT finished with a fury.
"I started talking about this being our gym," Glezen said. "I think the controversy helped them see I was going to bat for them. I was willing to do my part, and it put a fire underneath their butt."
The dispute revolved around whether Wildcats freshman Abbey Kaczmarek had picked up her fifth foul. The official book kept by TBT (21-4) showed four fouls, and Kaczmarek, who had a team-high 11 points, remained in the game.
TBT got the bulk of its scoring from guards Leria Jenrette (14 points) and Katrina Kent (10). The Wildcats (12-12) also had 10 points from junior Stasha Sharp and nine from guard Carla Rothacker.
ARMWOOD 40, NEWSOME 29: Many Hawks, including coach Billy Teeden, fought colds to earn a spot in the final.
The Hawks (21-3) watched a 14-point lead in the third quarter shrink to six with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left after a 3-pointer by guard Kelsey Rodriguez.
Armwood held Newsome (13-11) to one score the rest of the way and got a balanced attack led by guard Chante Lumpkin's team-high 12 points.
Wolves senior forward Dana Williams had 17 points and 17 rebounds.
Izzy Gould can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 760-3828.