PALM HARBOR — After Palm Harbor University's Sharee Booze missed her first three free throws to open the fourth quarter in a tight game Thursday night against Seminole, Hurricanes coach Darren Dublin pulled his senior guard aside.
His message to her? Slow down.
"I told her, 'Next time you go to the line, just relax, take your time and knock them down,' " Dublin said. "I think she was just rushing herself."
Refocused, Booze swished eight of her next nine attempts, including four crucial ones with the Hurricanes up by three in the final 30 seconds, to help PHU pull away late for a 55-50 win over the visiting Warhawks.
"I wanted to win it for our team. I wanted to put us back up top," said Booze, who finished 10-of-16 from the free-throw line and scored a game-high 24. "We don't have a lot of recognition for girls basketball, but that's going to change this year."
PHU (3-2) led 38-35 entering the final quarter and 51-46 after Kristine Fuller's bucket with 1:38 remaining.
Seminole (2-2) cut the lead to three on its next possession after Katelynn Gibbons found room in the paint to score inside. After a PHU turnover, the Warhawks' Calera Dickman had two open looks from 3-point range to tie in the game's final minute, but both attempts fell just short.
"We had a couple wide-open looks that could have changed the game," Seminole coach Hollie Nelson said. "I feel we played with heart and passion, though. We went all four quarters tonight."
The teams battled to a 19-all tie with 3:08 left in the second quarter before PHU closed the half on a 11-4 run to take a 30-23 lead into the break.
Alexandria Egger, who led Seminole with 15 points, got the Warhawks back in striking distance by scoring the first six points of the second half. Seminole briefly took a 35-32 lead before PHU went on a 6-0 run to close the third quarter.
"I thought right there we were going to keep on going," Nelson said. "We had a couple lapses here and there, and I think we got tired. We're not as deep as I would like."
Fuller was one rebound shy of a double double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Hailey Patera had eight points and eight boards for the Hurricanes.