SHADY HILLS — Heading into the Class 3A, District 7 semifinals Thursday night at Bishop McLaughlin, Tampa Prep had to be confident.
The Terrapins had swept Carrollwood Day in two previous meetings, and CDS had never qualified for the state playoffs.
None of that affected Carrollwood Day as the Patriots pulled off a dramatic 42-40 upset. Tampa Prep (11-12) jumped out to a 15-6 lead, but little by little, the Patriots (8-6) chipped away.
"I just kept telling the girls to keep their composure," first-year CDS coach George Kimble said. "If we played in the flow of the game, I knew we could get back into it."
Three of the Terps' best players — Isa Cura (15 points, five rebounds), Daniella Reina (10 points, nine rebounds) and Alana Tucker (eight points, six rebounds) — all picked up fourth fouls in the middle of the fourth quarter.
While Tampa Prep coach Justin Smith kept them on the floor, a lack of aggressiveness made the team less effective down the stretch. Eighth-grade point guard Aniya Buie (13 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks) stepped to the forefront for the CDS offense.
The score was still tied 40-all going into the final minute. A couple missed opportunities from both sides gave CDS the ball with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Buie drove the lane and kicked out to a wide open Nicole Ianni (six points, 10 rebounds), who knocked down the 15-foot jumper with 6.9 left to clinch the win.
In the second game, Seffner Christian (21-5), a state final four participant two of the past three years, cruised to a 71-26 win over host Bishop McLaughlin (15-9).
Seffner went up 15-0 right after the opening tip. A loose ball 3-pointer from Bishop McLaughlin guard Brielle Downing ended the run, but that was it for the Hurricane offense. Alexa Rodriguez led the team with 14 points.
Class 2A-8: Hernando Christian (10-14) used big nights from seventh grader Milly Jackson and her sister, Mary, to squeak into the program's third playoff appearance with a 38-37 win over Bayshore Christian in a semifinal at Keswick Christian.
"I'm just thrilled to death," Lions coach Mike Drummond said. "I never thought we would get as far as we did, as young as we are."
Milly Jackson led HCA with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Mary finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven steals. The Lions held Bayshore's leading scorer Alexandrya Myers to 14 points — 10 fewer than what she scored in their last meeting.
The Faith Warriors (10-5) rallied late but missed two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to propel HCA into the district title game.
Keswick Christian, the top seed in the district, had little trouble with Canterbury in the other semifinal. The Crusaders led only 18-12 at halftime but outscored Canterbury 40-15 in the second half to win 58-27.
Ashley Broaderick scored 12 points and Madison Span added 11 to lead Keswick.
Class 2A-7: Academy at the Lakes cruised to its fourth consecutive district championship under coach Karim Nohra, beating Cambridge Christian 54-10.
AATL (17-5) rebounded well from last week's loss to Holy Names and earned their fourth victory in the last five games with a dominant win in the district final at Cambridge (4-15). The Wildcats are gunning for their third consecutive trip to the final four.
Staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.