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Girls basketball

Tampa Catholic holds off SPC, clinches district's top seed

TAMPA — Sarah Brennan knows her job in the Tampa Catholic get-up-and-go offense very well.

When her teammates get possession, her goal is to beat the pack to the basket, where a quick pass — and an easy layup — likely will be waiting.

"The whole game we're running, running, running," Brennan said. "We run all practice long. Sometimes we don't know how to slow down and we get ahead of ourselves."

The 5-foot-8 junior forward was still catching her breath after Friday night's district game against rival St. Petersburg Catholic, having scored most of her 21 points in quick transition, leading the Crusaders to a 69-64 win.

"It seemed like she had 30 points," Barons coach Nick Vandewalle said of Brennan.

With the win, Tampa Catholic (21-2) clinched the top seed in the Class 3A-11 district tournament and swept the regular-season series with the Barons.

"It's the first time we've done this since I've been here," said junior guard Colette Eule, who also scored 21 points to go with nine rebounds and four steals.

Last season, the Barons were the team to beat. This year, the Crusaders have handed them both of their district losses.

"We knew we had to win this one," Brennan said. "We have some unfinished business."

The win didn't come without a couple scares. Despite running out to a 20-6 lead in the first six minutes, the Barons (16-5) came back with their trap defense.

After falling behind by 15, guard Jerica Coley, who scored 25 of her game-high 39 points in the second half, brought the Barons within three with 36.3 seconds left. But Eule helped the Crusaders clinch the win from the line, converting 8-of-8 free throws in the fourth.

Tampa Catholic69
St. Petersburg Catholic64

Tampa Catholic holds off SPC, clinches district's top seed 01/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 11:39pm]
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