GULFPORT — The first quarter has been Sickles' best all season.
Saturday night, it was its worse.
The usually quick-starting Gryphons fell behind quickly and never fully recovered as Boca Ciega built a big, and ultimately safe, lead in a 61-46 win, its 22nd straight, to earn its third consecutive trip to the state final four.
Sickles missed twice on its first possession, then turned it over, then fired an air ball, then missed two more times and added another turnover.
By then it was 7-0, soon to be 9-0, and eventually at the end of one quarter 22-9.
Sickles had outscored its last six opponents by an average of 15-4 in the first quarter.
"We couldn't hit any shots, and they were throwing everything in," said Gryphons coach Mark Key. "That made it tough. It made the hill real high tonight."
Even the biggest player on the floor, Sickles' 6-foot-4 All-American Amber Henson, wasn't tall enough to see over that hill.
Bogie (29-1) covered her with a combination of Tamara Taylor, Latavia Dempsey and freshman Destiny Brown — all 5-9 or shorter — and held her to 13 points, three coming on a meaningless 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
Sickles (25-4) got as close as 43-38 early in the fourth quarter, but it couldn't get any closer as Boca Ciega responded with a 10-2 run.
The Gryphons made only 8-of-20 free-throw attempts, hurting their comeback chances.
Point guard Bre Crum led Sickles with 14 points.