TAMPA — On the way to an anticipated meeting with Clearwater, Jefferson had one thing to check off its to-do list: Palm Harbor University.
Behind its up-tempo attack, outstanding defense and 10 players who tallied points, Jefferson opened the Class 5A region playoffs Thursday with a 79-58 win against Palm Harbor University.
The win sets up a semifinal meeting Tuesday between Jefferson (26-1) and Clearwater (27-2), which defeated Plant in its region quarterfinal game. Palm Harbor University ends its season at 14-13.
The Dragons jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. PHU managed to close the margin to 12-5 midway through the opening period but couldn't get any closer.
"We try to put pressure on everybody everywhere on the floor," Jefferson coach Tom Mosca said. "We put pressure on them to handle the ball and to stop us when we have the ball. And the girls just play so hard."
With little inside presence, PHU was forced to rely on outside shooting early, but couldn't convert on many chances. Jefferson, meanwhile, kept up its breakneck pace, forcing turnovers and converting on its opportunities.
The Hurricanes did convert on more offensive chances as the game went on but Jefferson's lead was too much to overcome.
Jefferson was led by Shayla Wilson's 23 points and 12 points each from Chantrell Frazier and Laurie Beaty.
"We got through this and now we'll start getting ready for the next one," Mosca said.