WESLEY CHAPEL — Janelle Mills gave Wesley Chapel the lead early in the game by draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
So when the 6-foot-2 forward found herself remarkably wide open in the fourth quarter, she was a little taken aback.
"I thought they would have respected the shot, since I made that one in the first half,'' Mills said. "But they didn't, so I had to make them pay.''
Twice, in fact.
Mills all but sealed Wesley Chapel's 51-43 victory over Armwood, making two back-breaking 3-pointers in a 69-second span to knock out the Hawks in a Class 5A region quarterfinal.
With the Wildcats protecting a 38-35 lead, Mills, who missed 19 games with a broken left wrist, swished a trey from near the top of the key with 5:40 left.
Following an Armwood turnover, she did it again from the same spot to make it 44-35.
"A killer,'' said Armwood coach Billy Teedon. "She showed us earlier that she can knock that shot down. We just didn't get to her.''
It was otherwise a solid defensive effort for Armwood, which finishes its best season in years with a 21-5 record. Offensively, though, the struggles continued. Thanks to a pair of short jumpers by DeAndrea Davis and Shawnte Lumkin, the Hawks completed an outstanding comeback from what had been a 13-point deficit to take a 35-32 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Armwood then went 10 minutes without scoring, during which time Mills scored 12 of 14 straight points by Wesley Chapel.
She finished with 27. Armwood got its first fourth-quarter basket with 46 seconds left.
"I'm satisfied with the way we played defensively, but for us it's always the same thing, the struggle with offense,'' Teedon said. "We just can't seem to knock down the shots when we need them and maintain a run.''
The Hawks were 1-for-15 from 3-point range, and 3-for-19 overall in the fourth quarter. Davis finished with a team-high 21 points.