TARPON SPRINGS — Clearwater girls basketball coach Tom Shaneyfelt isn't one to compare past generations of Tornadoes basketball with his current squad.
But if Clearwater's 73-25 shellacking of Tarpon Springs is any indication, the Tornadoes showed the potential to go down as one of the school's best.
At the very least, Clearwater (8-0) made its case for having the best team in Pinellas.
In opening a 13-0 lead to start Tuesday's game and pushing the advantage to 30-6 by the end of the first quarter, Clearwater dominated the paint to take control.
The Tornadoes got 41 points from their tall trio inside, J'Beria Davis (game-high 19 points), Artajah Collins (16) and Rachel Brown (six). The Tornadoes outrebounded the Spongers 46-20. Davis, Collins and Brown each pulled down nine rebounds. Brown had four blocks; Davis had three.
"That's our strength this year," Shaneyfelt said. "We're big inside so we've got to use them."
Shaneyfelt's bench contributed 30 points, outscoring the entire Tarpon team. Emma Loucks was 2-of-3 from 3-point range to lead the reserves with eight points. Brielle Newton contributed seven points and six rebounds.
"I was happy to see that," Shaneyfelt said. "Those kids work hard every day in practice, and they don't get to play much. They got some court time tonight and did well."
Clearwater forced Tarpon into 27 turnovers, 13 in the first quarter. And once the Tornadoes got possession they made quick, smart passes.
Tarpon (4-2) was without three key players. One is ineligible until the second semester and two were held out by coach Patty Georgiou.
"It was a decision that I had to make as a coach for the sake of the team, for the health of the team to try to make them come together," she said. "I had to make some really tough decisions tonight, and the score reflects those decisions."
University of Tampa signee Alli Corbett led the Spongers with eight points and grabbed nine rebounds. But the senior was continually pressured into bad shots and had trouble finding her offense.
"Alli Corbett couldn't take them on one-on-five," said Georgiou, the sixth Spongers coach in the past six years.