ST. PETERSBURG — Chalk up this victory to coaching.
When players were selected for the 14th annual Pinellas County Girls All-Star Game, Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil decided she wasn't going to draft any of her own players.
With Tunsil coaching the visiting team, and Kandis Frederick and Brishana Thomas playing for the home team, it was Spartans vs. Spartans, along with 18 of the best players from county.
In the end, Tunsil was celebrating a 64-60 victory Saturday at Keswick and had fun kidding her players at the same time.
"They've played for me the last three years," Tunsil said. "I wanted them to play against me. It gave me a chance to trash-talk them and gave them an opportunity to prove me wrong."
At first it looked like the home all-stars knew how to play the game best. St. Petersburg's Jazmyne Green had 11 points in the first half and led her teammates to a 34-27 lead at halftime.
To start the second half, however, Gibbs' Larkira Jones scored four straight points, Tarpon Springs' Alli Corbett hit from inside and Palm Harbor's Jasmine Whiting hit a 3-pointer with 17:56 to play. The 9-1 run lifted the visitors in front 36-35 and Tunsil's squad never trailed again.
"If you want something, you have to work hard to get it," said Jones, who scored 13 in the second half and finished with 18 for the game. Jones, named the most valuable player, said she didn't do anything special.
"My teammates just kept passing me the ball," she said. "No one was being selfish."
All 20 girls in the game scored. Rachel Brown of Clearwater had nine while Corbett added eight.
Green, who received the hustle award, led the home team with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Courtney St. Louis of Indian Rocks Christian scored eight and Dominique Pruitt of St. Petersburg had seven.
The Lakewood girls, Frederick and Thomas, combined for eight. Tunsil joked that she knew their weaknesses.