LARGO — Clearwater seemed to do everything right against Sarasota on Saturday. The Tornadoes played aggressive offense in the post and boxed out often. They grabbed offensive rebounds and got second-chance shots.
But the rim seemed unkind and the ball would not go through no matter how many opportunities the Tornadoes earned.
Sarasota eventually wore out Clearwater late in the fourth quarter to win the Indian Rocks Christian Thanksgiving Tournament final 48-38.
"We needed to finish a little bit better," Clearwater coach Tom Shaneyfelt said. "We were a little sloppy with it. We're still learning to play together, so hopefully we'll get better as the season goes on."
Clearwater had chances in the second quarter to take the lead, but it kept turning the ball over and committing mental mistakes. Down 20-18, Tyra Bolden stole the ball and gave it to point guard Alexandria Alford, who then threw the ball away. Another ill-advised pass and a traveling violation allowed Sarasota to reach halftime ahead 23-20.
Sarasota focused on slowing and frustrating Bolden, who fouled out in the fourth quarter with eight points, six rebounds and two steals.
The Tornadoes chipped away at a four-point fourth-quarter deficit, and Alford (16 points) sank a floater to give Clearwater a 36-35 lead with less than five minutes to play.
But the Sailors upped the tempo and went on a game-ending 13-2 run. Clearwater didn't have an answer for Julianna Cavallaro, who finished with a game-high 19 points, and Sarasota's Kelly Jurtas (13 points) earned tournament MVP honors.
IRC beat Tampa Catholic 67-27 in the third-place game as Tori Trador led the Golden Eagles with 15 points.