This time, Northeast found the mountain too tall to climb. The Vikings, facing a heavily favored opponent for the second night in a row, lost to top-seeded Sarasota Riverview 77-21 Saturday in the championship game of the Class 4A, District 8 girls basketball tournament.
Riverview (25-4), ranked No.
6 in Class 4A, entertains 4A-7 champion Pinellas Park in the Region IV game Tuesday night.
Northeast, the host and last seed for the six-team 4A-8 tournament, finished 12-13. That record included a 56-49 upset of second-seeded Bradenton Manatee in Friday's semifinals.
Against Riverview, the end came early for the Vikings. With 1:53 left in the first quarter, the Rams had all the points they would need.
Strong-passing Riverview did not attempt a shot from outside the paint until midway through the final quarter. The Rams then sank three outside shots in succession.
"We got the ball where we wanted to, and _ the best part of all _ we put it in," Riverview coach Cayll Smith said.
Riverview's inside game and trapping defense were so dominant that the Vikings went more than seven minutes without a basket during the eight-minute first quarter. The Rams built a 26-4 lead.
Northeast committed 10 turnovers during those seven minutes.
"We've got five players up from junior varsity, and it's their first championship game _ and it showed," Northeast coach Marshall Gotte said. "The other thing is the talent level of Riverview. They're much more talented."
Pat Lassa had 16 points, Cindi Hayden 13 and Johnson 12 for Riverview. Brandy Friedman and Kisha Conway had six points apiece for Northeast.