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Wildcats girls rely on fighting spirit to put away Bucs

WESLEY CHAPEL — Karim Nohra emerged from the visiting locker room with sweat still beading on his head.

"Round Two goes to Wesley Chapel," the Wildcats' coach said with a hint of exhaustion.

The reference was to Friday night's emotional 47-42 win against rival Gulf. The Buccaneers won the first meeting 47-37 on Dec. 3.

Nohra tried to dismiss the victory because it bears no significance on the postseason. But it was the first time in three meetings one of Nohra's teams defeated Gulf, a program long considered the county bench mark.

What Nohra wanted to point out was the way Wesley Chapel rebounded from a 10-point deficit with less than two minutes in the third quarter.

"We fought out of that 10-point deficit," Nohra said. "The win is great, but it was the fact they came back, fought and gave me a lead in the fourth quarter."

One key was challenging Gulf's intimidating frontline of Leighlani Paselio, Asia Spencer and Kianna Mills. The aggressive strategy helped Wesley Chapel (17-1) go on a 16-0 run while Gulf (17-4) went on a scoring drought of more than six minutes.

Wesley Chapel senior Shantel Houston led the charge with a team-high 18 points. Wildcats junior Hannah Noble added 10.

Another key was holding Gulf leading scorer Nicole Adams to four of her game-high 20 in the fourth quarter.

And after the Wildcats took their first lead in the fourth quarter on a jumper by freshman Simone Brown to make it 38-36, they pushed the lead to four fighting off extremely physical defense.

One last question Nohra had for an assistant coach was about free throws. The Wildcats were 8-of-10, a vast improvement over 4-for-17 in the last meeting.

"We already knew we could beat them," Houston said.

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Wildcats girls rely on fighting spirit to put away Bucs 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 10:48pm]
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