TAMPA — Hillsborough coach Yolanda Driskell asked her Terriers for 50 percent of the rebounds against Freedom in Friday's district semifinals.
They gave her almost twice that in cruising to a surprisingly easy 63-39 victory over the Patriots to reach a district final for the first time since 1998.
The Terriers (18-7) will meet Sickles, another easy winner, dispatching Gaither 62-36.
Despite losing to Freedom twice in the regular season, Driskell says she learned that the way to beat the Patriots was to play a 2-3 zone. "We knew what it took to beat them," she said, "so we decided to let them try to shoot us out of the gym."
But the Patriots (19-6) shot themselves into the offseason, and when they missed Hillsborough's Jasmine Hammond and Jacinda Myers-Sanders were there to make sure there were no second chances. Hammond pulled down 21 rebounds to go with her 15 points, and Myers-Sanders added 18 rebounds and nine points.
"I think they had it in their minds that they could beat us again because they already did it twice," said Hammond. "But we knew this time would be different."
Cassandra Nevarez made sure Hillsborough's 25-16 halftime lead would hold up, scoring 13 of her game-high 20 in the third quarter on three 3-pointers.
Freedom had only three players score.
Sickles (22-3) got 25 points from center Amber Henson and 13 from guard Bre Crum and was never challenged by the Cowboys.