CLEARWATER — Clearwater's region quarterfinal against Plant was over in roughly the same amount of time it took the Panthers to traverse the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Clearwater defeated the Panthers 62-31, but in reality, the Tornadoes could have named their own score.
Behind deadly shooting, Clearwater erupted to score the first 10 points and forced Plant into three turnovers and an airball on its first four possessions, causing the Panthers to burn a timeout two minutes into the game.
By the time Plant called its second timeout three minutes later, Clearwater was ahead 19-2.
The Tornadoes finished the quarter with a 25-2 advantage and gained complete control of the game.
"When you're shooting the 3-pointer well, when you're penetrating well, when you're making good lob passes, they don't make a defense for that," Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. "That was a heck of a start. A big statement."
Clearwater (27-2) fed the ball inside early to 6-foot-2 Artajah Collins (11 points) and 6-foot-6 Rachel Brown (two) to exploit the Tornadoes' size advantage. Then, when Plant (21-6) started clogging the lane, Clearwater fired away from outside, knocking down its first five 3-point attempts to bury the Panthers.
"We stroked them pretty well today," said Clearwater's Victoria Cecil, who made two 3s in the first quarter and finished with eight points. "That gave us the momentum to start the game on a roll."
Clearwater extended its lead to 37-4 in the second quarter and went into the break ahead 38-11.
The Tornadoes outscored Plant 24-20 after halftime. Point guard Veronica Ryan led all scorers with 18 points. Antoinette Wilson had a team-high 10 points for the Panthers.