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Girls basketball: Jefferson 74, Tampa Catholic 63

Jefferson’s Toni Cox shoots over Tampa Catholic’s Kelsey Brown during the second half of the Dragons’ victory.

BRIAN BLANCO | Special to the Times

Jefferson’s Toni Cox shoots over Tampa Catholic’s Kelsey Brown during the second half of the Dragons’ victory.

TAMPA — Jefferson started inside and finished outside.

The Dragons pounded Tampa Catholic down low with high-percentage baskets in the first half then knocked down outside shots in the second half.

It proved too much for the Crusaders as the Dragons easily won 74-63 in the final of the Craig Keeler Memorial Tournament at Tampa Catholic on Saturday night.

"That's always good medicine when that happens," Jefferson coach Jim Baxter said. "It really loosens the defense up when you can get that inside-outside game going."

Jefferson (5-0) got the ball inside for layup after layup in the first quarter and took a 20-6 lead before Tampa Catholic could react.

The Crusaders made a move to a press in the second quarter, and the strategy worked for a while.

Tampa Catholic (1-2) went on a 10-2 run to start the quarter and cut the lead to 26-25 before Jefferson made an adjustment.

"Can you tell that we haven't been pressed so far this year?" Baxter said. "But the girls adjusted and made me look good. They have a good basketball IQ."

Jefferson closed out the quarter with a 13-4 run and had a nine-point lead at halftime.

The Dragons then beat the Crusaders' defensive adjustments by making outside shots in the third quarter and were up by as much as 20 points in the fourth quarter before they took out all of the starters for the final minutes.

Jefferson's Laurie Beaty made several key 3-pointers and finished with 14 points and was named tournament MVP.

Tampa Catholic's Meghan Keough led all scorers with 24 points.

In the third-place game, Sickles defeated Wiregrass Ranch 54-51.

On the Web

Have a question for one of our prep writers? Want to sound off in response to one of our writers' blog posts? Check out nightly scoreboards for all sports? For this and more, visit tampabay.com/hometeam.

Girls basketball: Jefferson 74, Tampa Catholic 63 11/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 27, 2010 11:52pm]
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