BRADENTON — In a high-scoring contest, Boca Ciega and Bradenton Southeast left everything on the floor. As in their previous contest, the Pirates came away with the win besting the host Seminoles 70-62 Tuesday to march into the Class 5A region finals.
"We know it's win or go home," Pirates guard Tory Stephens said. "We stuck to our game plan and kept pushing the ball."
The Seminoles jumped out to a quick lead, scoring the first five points but the Pirates struck back behind Latavia Dempsey's seven first-quarter points to take a 15-13 lead at the end of one.
Boca Ciega continued its torrid pace in the second quarter behind the play of Tamara Taylor and Stephens, staking the Pirates to a 32-26 halftime lead.
"The girls have free reign as long as their shots are in the flow of the offense," Boca Ciega coach William White said.
"Having her (Taylor) helps a lot," Stephens said. "She can be an extra guard or an extra post."
The Pirates continued to push the pace, getting big shots from Stephens and Taylor throughout the third and fourth quarters.
"We really played well," White said. "Southeast shot really well but we played a lot better than the last time. We always answered their 3s."
"When they score they don't worry about playing defense," Stephens said. "We would push the ball and either go to the basket or get a 3."
Stephens led the Pirates with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Dempsey scored 23 and Tamara Taylor added 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Seminoles were led by Jamyrah McPherson, who scored 23 and pulled down six rebounds, and Carolyn Taite scored 14 and had 13 rebounds.