Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5A region basketball: Clearwater 46, Boca Ciega 43

GULFPORT — For the past four seasons, Boca Ciega has beaten Clearwater in every imaginable way: tight games, routs, heartbreaking comebacks.

The outcome was supposed to be the same Tuesday night. After all, the Tornadoes, who graduated the bulk of last season's lineup, were regarded as charming foils in the Pirates' march toward their fourth straight state final four appearance.

But Clearwater showed its resolve, rallying from a four-point deficit to score the final seven points in the last 1:40 in regulation to pull off a stunning 46-43 victory in the Class 5A region semifinals.

"This was a big step for this group of girls," Tornadoes coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. "It's been a long time since we've beaten Boca Ciega in a meaningful game. We graduated so much and no one thought we would even be at this stage."

The last meaningful victory came in 2007 when Clearwater hit a 70-foot shot as time expired to beat the Pirates in a region semifinal that propelled the Tornadoes to their last state final four appearance.

Since then, Boca Ciega has dominated the series.

In the second half of Tuesday night's game, it looked as if that trend would continue. After trailing by as many as 12 points midway through the third quarter, the Pirates used their quickness to make a furious comeback.

With two minutes remaining, Boca Ciega was ahead 43-39 and in control, especially after the Tornadoes missed two free throws.

Then the momentum shifted. The Pirates missed a shot. Clearwater got the rebound and Emma Loucks hit a 3-pointer with 1:40 left to make it a one-point game.

"That shot was definitely big, and helped us stay focused and get back in the game," Loucks said.

With 46 seconds left, the Tornadoes' Alex Alford was fouled and hit both free throws to give Clearwater a 44-43 lead. Alford sealed the game by hitting two more free throws in the final 10 seconds. The Pirates' Tamara Taylor missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game as time expired.

"It's tough to end this way," Boca Ciega coach Will White said. "But we showed a lot of character to come back like that."

5A region basketball: Clearwater 46, Boca Ciega 43 02/15/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  2. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  3. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  4. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.
  5. Rays morning after: Steven Souza Jr.'s status is a major concern


    The Rays will know more about the status of RF Steven Souza Jr. later today after reviewing results of a scheduled MRI and exam of the left hip he strained in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.

    Steven Souza Jr. strained his left hip in Wednesday's game on an awkward slide into second.