Saturday, May 26, 2018
Sports

Girls basketball: Lakewood blows late 19-point lead in Shootout defeat

ST. PETERSBURG — For those who left Lakewood's Breast Cancer Shootout girls basketball game against Port Orange Atlantic midway through the fourth quarter Saturday, this is not a misprint. Atlantic did beat the Spartans 48-47.

That final score seemed improbable with four minutes left as Lakewood led 45-26 and seemed to score at will.

Then the Spartans shut down. They threw errant passes, dribbled off their legs, traveled and missed shots.

"We work on that stuff in practice and it's no problem," Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil said. "Then we get in the game and we start turning the ball over."

The problems started when Atlantic coach George Butts called for a full-court press. The Sharks (15-6) went on a 17-0 run that included steals and layups from Destiny Woodard and Ronni Williams. A foul shot by Tianah Alvarado (26 points) broke the run and gave Lakewood a 46-43 lead with 58 seconds left.

A Williams layup with 30 seconds left made it 46-45. With 22 seconds left, Alvarado hit one of two free throws to make it 47-45.

Then Williams was fouled with 9.6 seconds left and made one of two shots to cut it to one.

Lakewood inbounded to Alvarado, but she was called for traveling. Williams was fouled again while driving, and with 2.2 seconds left she made both free throws for the Sharks' only lead.

The Sharks finished on a 22-2 run and didn't allow a field goal in the final four minutes.

"We knew they had a hard time with the press," Butts said. "They couldn't handle it, so we just had to come at them."

It could be a big loss for Lakewood (17-3). The Spartans play at St. Petersburg on Tuesday to decide the Pinellas County Athletic Conference south champion. The district tournament begins the next week.

Lakewood has to figure out its turnover problems. "We've handled pressure before," Tunsil said. "We've just got to have more pride. Where's the pride?"

Also, Clearwater lost to Lake Worth 50-48, St. Petersburg beat Ocala Forest 63-56 and Tarpon Springs lost to Florida A&M High 62-27.

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Published: 05/25/18