SEFFNER — Leria Jenrette was on the bench with her Tampa Bay Tech teammates Monday night offering help any way she could. But the junior guard and team leader sat in a wheelchair, not even two weeks after a horrible scare: she had been stabbed in the lower back on New Year's Eve.
Monday's game at Armwood marked the Titans' toughest test without Jenrette, who was averaging nine assists.
"We had talked about how everyone needed to step up," Tampa Bay Tech coach Heather Glezen said. "To look at it that we're not playing without Ree-Ree, we're playing for Ree-Ree."
But after a disappointing 58-40 loss to the Hawks, Glezen could only wonder how her players might have psyched themselves out in a turnover-riddled game.
The last time the teams met, the Titans escaped with a three-point overtime win and Jenrette dished out 11 assists. They could have used her steady ballhandling on Monday.
Instead, the Hawks (14-2) redeemed themselves and remained undefeated at home.
"We lost to them in overtime last time and we thought we should have won the game," Armwood guard Chante Lumpkin said. "We wanted to give them less than 30 seconds and then get into the transition offense."
Deandra Davis led the Hawks with 16 points and seven steals, while Lumpkin added 12 points and six steals. Chelsea White scored 10 and Corlissa Pope had nine points and nine rebounds.
"It was huge," Armwood coach Billy Teeden said. "It was a must-win for us going into district play."
Forward Jasmine Rodriguez, who scored 19, was the only double-digit scorer for the Titans (12-2).
"I think we beat ourselves to be honest with you," Glezen said. "I think everybody in the back of their mind was thinking, 'What are we going to do without Ree-Ree?' And I think they started to believe it. We didn't play with the heart we usually do."