Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sports

Girls basketball: St. Petersburg finds plan that works

ST. PETERSBURG — So far this season St. Petersburg has used a simple formula to frustrate opponents. Apply stifling fullcourt defense, convert turnovers into layups and wear teams out with depth.

That strategy was on display Thursday night against Northeast. And like seven previous games, it worked like a charm.

The Green Devils jumped on the Vikings early and never let up in a 61-29 win. Jordan Berenbaum led St. Petersburg (8-0) with 18 points, but she also got help. Overall, 10 Green Devils scored, including 11 points from Victoria Uhatafe and eight from Angel Brown.

"We try to start with some good energy and set the tone," St. Petersburg coach Tamika Coley said. "We pressure early and take away their legs and try to get the ball out of the hand of the person we know sets up the offense and force somebody else to make decisions."

Berenbaum scored the first six points of the game and St. Petersburg had an 8-0 lead just three minutes in. After the first quarter, the Green Devils had an 18-10 lead. Then the defense really got going.

St. Petersburg held Northeast to just three second-quarter points and used a 13-2 run to grab a 31-12 lead. Simone Wilson hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the quarter to make it 34-13 at the half.

Northeast (8-3) couldn't close the gap in the second half. A 6-0 run midway through the third quarter made it 42-26. But the Green Devils went back to dominating in the fourth quarter.

St. Petersburg ended the game with a 10-0 run.

"You don't see that in practice," Northeast coach Will White said. "I was a little disappointed because we didn't execute what we wanted to do.

"But at the same time they have a really good team. It was good for us to see a team like this and to let us know where we want to get."

The Vikings were led by Ellisa Waithe, who had seven points. Madison Schmidt and Maddie Winningham each had six.

Coley said this season holds much promise for the Green Devils.

"I actually feel like I have a bench," she said. "That's something that has been missing. I've always had a solid three or four players. This year I think we have a solid six or seven. I don't have to fatigue the first five. They can rest and evaluate and get back out there and execute."

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