TAMPA — Academy of the Holy Names coach Chris Kumka was "very happy" with the way his Jaguars competed Monday against undefeated Clearwater in the semifinals of the 10th annual Jaguar Holiday Tournament.
AHN, though, just did not have the size to match an overabundance of towering Tornadoes.
Six-foot-2 Clearwater center Artajah Collins recorded a double double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, reserve centers Brielle Newton (6 feet) and Rachel Brown (6-foot-6) grabbed seven and five boards respectively and the visiting Tornadoes had 10 more rebounds than AHN in a 51-38 victory.
Clearwater (14-0) advances to today's final at 7 p.m. where it will play Gibbs, which needed a last-second 3-pointer to advance past St. Petersburg 35-34 in the other semifinal.
"When we were able to pressure, (Clearwater) had that release where they could kind of toss it in the middle," Kumka said. "But I thought our kids did a great job. They played really hard. They disrupted them, they just didn't disrupt them enough."
Collins, who stands 4 inches taller than anybody on AHN's roster, was virtually unstoppable in the low post. She scored four points in each quarter, mostly on lay-ins from under the basket.
"She's a good player," Kumka said. "She's big, but she's not just big. She's athletic. I thought our post kids did a great job defending her. They hit some tough shots, especially in the fourth quarter. … Sometimes good players make shots when you defend them. It's kind of what happened to us tonight."
Clearwater opened on an 11-4 run after Veronica Ryan drained her first 3-pointer following three misses from long range.
AHN (5-6), behind a stellar performance from Katie Davis (game-high 20 points, 13 rebounds), cut Clearwater's lead to four midway through the second quarter before the Tornadoes pushed the advantage to 12 at halftime.
Clearwater led by as many as 17 in the second half. Davis' basket with 3:55 remaining brought AHN within 11, but the Tornadoes responded with back-to-back baskets to close out the victory.
In earlier action, Gibbs' Fahran Franklin stepped back well beyond the 3-point line with two seconds on the clock to sink the winner against St. Petersburg.
Gibbs (13-1) scored the first 14 points to move ahead 14-3 after one quarter, but St. Petersburg (9-4) chipped away the rest of the game, taking its first lead with 1:06 remaining before Franklin's heroics.