WESLEY CHAPEL — For the Wesley Chapel girls basketball team and fans, this 2009 season will be one to remember — from their 26-3 record to their deep playoff run to the Class 5A region final.
But the Lake Howell Silver Hawks did not give the Wildcats a region final to remember, holding them to two fourth-quarter points for 52-28 win on Saturday night.
"The bottom line is we went really cold in the second half," Wesley Chapel coach Karim Nohra said. "What it proves is we can play in our front yard and in our backyard in Pasco County and Hillsborough, but we are just not ready to play in the state playground yet."
The Silver Hawks (27-2) did not start all too great, as they air balled their first three field goal attempts. The Wildcats took a brief 5-4 lead early after center Janelle Mills (13 points, five rebounds) hit 1-of-2 free throws.
But that was the last lead they would have, as Lake Howell scored 10 straight points heading into the second quarter before Wesley Chapel scored again at the 7:03 mark.
Lake Howell went into halftime with a 27-16 lead and built their biggest lead to 13 points. Wesley Chapel battled back and make it a six-point game at 30-24 with 2:21 remaining in the third, after a Shantel Houston (four points) layup.
But the Silver Hawks proved too powerful in the end, finishing the rest of the game on a 22-4 run and clamping down on the Wildcats' offense.
The Silver Hawks outrebounded the Wildcats 17-10 and both teams had 11 turnovers each for the game. Kasie Parker and Cabi Duren paced Lake Howell with 15 and 13 points, respectively.