Class 5a Boca Ciega rolls to 17th straight win
GULFPORT — Boca Ciega was spearheaded by a strong second-half defensive performance and timely contributions from Missy Schmidt and Tamara Taylor to defeat North Port 61-46 in their Class 5A region quarterfinal Thursday.
The Pirates (26-3) won their 17th consecutive game.
"We've been playing very good basketball over this stretch run," coach William White said. "I'd say with the exception of the first half in this game."
Boca Ciega had a tough time pulling away. A 7-0 run in the second quarter gave the Pirates a 24-15 lead, but the Bobcats answered with an 11-0 run and took a two-point lead into halftime.
North Port kept the lead midway through the third quarter until Taylor scored the game's next eight points to give Boca Ciega a 36-29 lead.
The Bobcats were able to pull to 45-41 early in the fourth quarter but Tory Stephens hit a key basket. Schmidt put the game on ice by hitting 7-of-8 free throws.
"(Schmidt) is very underrated because so much attention is put on our guards," White said. "We wanted to get her the ball more."
Schmidt finished with a game-high 19 points while Stephens added 17 and Taylor chipped in 16.
Corey Long, Times correspondent