Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Girls basketball: Igwe, Emery lead Freedom past Sickles

TAMPA — It was as if Freedom's first basket — a perfectly executed pass from Taylor Emery to Bianca Igwe for a layup — foreshadowed what was to come Friday in the Patriots' home game against Sickles.

But how could the Gryphons know that the pair, who starting playing together in seventh grade for AAU team Tampa Bay Inferno, would wreak such havoc in the Class 7, District 8 rematch?

Igwe and Emery combined for 41 points as the Patriots won 56-47, avenging their Dec. 9 loss to the Gryphons.

They're different players. Igwe, a 6-foot forward, spent Friday night attacking the boards, altering shots, and scoring 13 points. Emery, a guard who averages more than 26 points a game, is tough to stop when she drives to the basket.

With both on the court, the Patriots (16-3, 4-3) are hard to beat.

"It's kind of like a ying and yang kind of thing," Igwe said, smiling.

The Patriots dominated the first half and went into the break with a nine-point lead. But in the second half Freedom had seven costly turnovers, and the Gryphons got within three with just more than four minutes to go.

As Sickles (16-5, 3-4) worked its way back into a game it had trailed since the start, Freedom coach Laurie Pacholke pulled Igwe aside.

"I said, 'Where's your head? You're not doing what you can do for us.' And she responded," Pacholke said. "She can step up, she can guard a big, she can guard a guard. When she gets mad, she's pretty dang tough."

With less than three minutes to go, Sickles trailing by four, Igwe grabbed a big offensive rebound and was fouled going up for a shot. She made one free throw, and Emery followed with six points in the final minute and a half.

Freedom earned its second district victory of the week, having won 61-44 Wednesday at Wiregrass Ranch. Pacholke said the Patriots are on their way to playing their best basketball of the season, and with the district tournament near, there's no better time.

The Patriots compete in a tough district. Wiregrass Ranch, Steinbrenner, Sickles and Freedom have a combined record of 72-13. But Igwe feels good about her team's chances at a district title. And she only has to look beside her to see the source of her confidence.

"I know where Taylor's going to be, she knows where I'm going to be. I know where she's going to post up, she knows where I'm going to drive," Igwe said. "It's lot of fun when we get going. It's like no one can stop us."

Girls basketball: Igwe, Emery lead Freedom past Sickles 01/11/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 11, 2014 12:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  3. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  4. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback


    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

    The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.
  5. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    UPDATE, 5:32: 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) is not doing much in the way of baseball activity yet so that means he won't be ready when eligible to come off the DL on Friday. ... SS Matt Duffy (left heel) said he is still slowed by the big left toe he bruised taking BP on Saturday and does not have a date to …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.