CLEARWATER — For the past two weeks, Palm Harbor University has been rejuvenated by the return of guard Jasmine Whiting, who was academically ineligible the first half of the season.
With Whiting inserted into the lineup, the Hurricanes are at full strength with a surplus of starters at the just the right time.
In the Friday's Class 5A, District 9 girls basketball semifinal, PHU rode the offense of Sharee Booze and continued to enjoy the resurgence of Whiting in a 55-43 victory over Tarpon Springs.
It was the first time the Hurricanes beat the Spongers this season.
"We lost some close games before to Tarpon," PHU coach Darrin Dublin said. "We didn't have Jasmine the first two games. She definitely helps us run the floor."
Booze led the Hurricanes (14-11) with 22 points, and Whiting had 10. Alli Corbett scored a team-high 11 for the Spongers.
PHU will play host and No. 1 seed Clearwater in the final at 7 tonight.
The Tornadoes (24-2) had no trouble in a 57-16 victory over Dunedin in the other semifinal.
"We had not played in a week, so we basically wanted to just get into a rhythm out there," Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. "We got to play everybody had come through with a win."
Emma Loucks scored a team-high 13 for the Tornadoes.
Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimescom or (727) 445-4169.