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Girls basketball: Wiregrass Ranch wins Jaguar Holiday tournament

TAMPA — Junior forwards Amanda Melosky and Logan Seoane each scored 14, leading Wiregrass Ranch to a 51-39 win over Academy of the Holy Names in Saturday's title game of the Jaguar Holiday tournament.

The Bulls (19-1), who placed sixth at last year's event, foiled the Jaguars' bid for a second championship in three years. Wiregrass Ranch also defeated Holy Names by 29 points earlier this season.

Melosky was named the tournament's most valuable player with Seoane and teammate Stephanie Brower, a freshman guard, also making the all-tournament team.

"We have a very strong inside game," Wiregrass Ranch coach John Gant said. "(Melosky and Seoane are) both good athletes. They both have good footwork. They're good shooters."

Holy Names (11-6) got 14 points from Ashley McWilliams but struggled with its long-range shooting. A night after clutch 3-point shooting by Siobhan Lynch and Cristina Snyder keyed a semifinal win over Plant, the Jaguars were cold early on. They went 7-for-21 from 3-point range and missed their first eight attempts.

"Sometimes those nights happen," Holy Names coach Chris Severini said. "You live by it, you die by it. We just didn't make enough shots."

Noting that the margin of defeat was nearly cut in half in the second meeting with Wiregrass Ranch, Severini said, "We certainly got a lot better since then."

In the third-place game, Clearwater (18-1) rebounded from its only loss this season with a 49-29 win over Plant. Madison Rubino hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and the Tornadoes blew the game open with a 13-0 scoring advantage in the third quarter.

"They came out with a mindset that we didn't do what we were supposed to do," Clearwater coach Paul Lang said, alluding to Friday's semifinal loss to Holy Names. "It was a great bounce-back win against a quality team."

Deja Blunt led three Clearwater players in double figures with 21 points. Alexandria Alford added 16 and Rubino 10.

Plant (10-10) got nine points apiece from Payton Paro and Anika Moffitt.

Aside from the three aforementioned Wiregrass Ranch players, the all-tournament team included Clearwater's Rubino along with Holy Names' Lynch and McWilliams.

Northeast claims its own tourney crown

ST. PETERSBURG — Northeast turned up the pressure on defense to kick-start its offense and rallied to beat Bloomingdale 54-33 for the Northeast Christmas Invitational tournament crown Saturday.

Northeast (15-5) trailed Bloomingdale (8-8) by 10 after a first quarter in which it did not hit a field goal. But led by Madison Schmidt (team-high 17 points), the Vikings rolled to a 25-point second quarter and coasted from there.

"It's such a cliché, but our defense is our offense," coach Will White said. "We create our opportunities with defense. We made some defensive adjustments, and that's when we started making our run."

Trailing 12-2 after the first quarter, Madison Schmidt scored the Vikings' first field goal, a layup, just seconds into the second quarter. She added another layup, two 3-pointers that were her first two of the season, and three free throws in the quarter. She ended the game with a team-high 17 points.

"We weren't used to seeing man-to-man defense," Schmidt said. "We adjusted to that in the second quarter and it helped us a lot. We did well from there."

Rodney Page, Times staff writer

Girls basketball: Wiregrass Ranch wins Jaguar Holiday tournament 12/28/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:02pm]
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