TAMPA — Sickles won a district title Saturday night, but the Gryphons did not wow anyone.
It was disjointed. Frenetic. Even a little ugly.
"Just a little bit," said smiling star center Amber Henson, who scored 18 and blocked eight shots as the host Gryphons rolled to a 49-42 victory over Hillsborough in the Class 5A, District 9 final.
Sickles (23-3) never trailed, as Henson converted a three-point play and a 3-pointer in the first three minutes.
Sickles led 16-6 after one quarter, and it never was a close game.
But it could have been.
Trailing 45-29 to start the fourth quarter, the Terriers (18-8) made a spirited run at the Gryphons. They cut the margin to 48-37 with four minutes remaining and didn't allow Sickles to make a basket the rest of the way.
Problem was, Hillsborough couldn't take make many either despite a host of steals and Gryphons turnovers.
The Terriers missed a slew of layups, failed to convert on breaks when they had numbers and always seemed to make one pass too many, a fact coach Yolando Driskell acknowledged by playfully grimacing and crushing a water bottle in her hands when asked about it afterward.
"We missed a lot of shots, but that may have been because of the presence of Amber, wondering where she was," Driskell said. "She tends to alter your shots."
Henson only scored four points in the second half, but her presence was felt on defense and offensively. She made three straight passes into the post (two to Lindsey Botts, one to Erica Early) for quick turnaround baskets to push Sickles' lead from 12 to 16 entering the final period.