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Unbeaten Cougars bounce Tornadoes

Junior Sabrina Crump had 21 points and 12 rebounds as Countryside defeated Clearwater 51-47 Saturday night to win the Class 4A, District 7 girls basketball championship.

The Cougars (25-0) play at Sarasota Riverview (27-0) in the Class 4A, Region IV game Tuesday night at 7:30. The Rams, who beat St. Petersburg 75-62 Saturday to win the 4A-District 8 title for a fourth straight year, are ranked No. 2 in the state poll. Countryside is No. 3.

"Everyone's going to have to step up and play well for four quarters against Sarasota Riverview," said Crump, who also had five assists, eight steals and two blocked shots against Clearwater. "We can't have any real bad slack periods Tuesday."

Crump led a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter with two layups off steals, and Dawn Jenkins added a three-pointer to give Countryside a 25-14 lead. Clearwater trimmed the lead to 25-18 on two baskets by Heidi Kessinger, but Crump stole four passes in the final minute before intermission, scoring two baskets and assisting on two by Tonya Petersen. That burst gave the Cougars a 33-18 lead.

"We never got in rhythm in the first half," said Clearwater coach Rod Snyder, whose team lost to Countryside three times this year, "and we did whatever we could to stop Crump."

Behind Kessinger's 12 second-half points, the Tornadoes narrowed the gap to 41-35 midway through the fourth quarter, but Crump converted five free throws down the stretch and Jenkins hit a three-pointer.

"This really feels good," Countryside coach John Napoli said. "The best feeling is to see all 12 girls so happy."

Kessinger led the Tornadoes (19-5) with 17 points. Leading scorer Stacia Kasper, who was averaging 19.3 points, was held to three.

Countryside's Jenkins and Chrissy Armstrong chipped in eight points each.

Undefeated Riverview

ends Devils' season

SARASOTA _ Forward Keri Bontrager scored 28 points to lead Sarasota Riverview past St. Petersburg 75-62 in the Class 4A, District 8 girls basketball final.

Riverview had no trouble handling the Green Devils' slow-down offense in the first half. The Rams caused 12 St. Petersburg turnovers in building a 42-18 halftime lead.

The Green Devils (14-7) picked up the offensive pace in the second half, outscoring the Rams 24-13 in the third quarter.

Guard Sabrina Herring's three-point shot 50 seconds into the fourth quarter cut the Rams' lead to 59-47, but that was as close as the Green Devils got.

"I'm glad our team played with a basketball instead of a baton; St. Pete is the fastest team we played all year," Rams coach Cayll Smith said.

"I think they're much better athletes, but we're much better basketball players."

Herring led the Green Devils with 19 points, and Toya Johnson added 17.


Spartans rule 3A-11,

defeating Southeast

BRADENTON _ Nikia Hayes had 17 points to lead Lakewood past Bradenton Southeast 44-40 in the Class 3A, District 11 girls basketball final.

Lisa Rowe contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans (18-2), despite being double-teamed without the ball and tripled-teamed when she had the ball.

"We knew that they would play that kind of defense, and my teammates picked up the slack," said Rowe, who averaged 21.3 points and 13 rebounds during the tournament. "We had to prove it to ourselves that we could do it."

Lakewood advances to the 3A-Region VI game Tuesday to visit Fort Myers-Cypress Lake, a 51-40 winner over Riverdale in the District 12 game Saturday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Southeast finished at 23-7.


Roach's heroics propel

CCC to 2A-11 crown

CLEARWATER _ Claire Roach keyed a comeback with seven points in the final minute and blocked a go-ahead shot, pacing Clearwater Central Catholic to 43-42 victory over Sarasota-Cardinal Mooney and a Class 2A, District 11 championship.

Roach, a 5-foot-11 center, had a game-high 27 points and led CCC back from a 42-38 deficit in the final 58 seconds. She hit 5 of 6 free throws in that span.

"We're a team that will never give up," said Roach, who had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. "That's what gets us through our games."

Tammy Gardner, Mooney's 6-foot-4 center, grabbed 18 rebounds but was held to 12 points by a relentless Marauders defense.

"We just couldn't get the ball in to (Gardner)," Cougars coach Terry Vogel said.

Amanda Musco sank 5 of 6 field goals in the final quarter to keep the Cougars (19-12) in contention. Rosyn Hall attempted an inside shot with seven seconds remaining, but the shot was blocked by Roach.

CCC (18-10) visits Frostproof in Tuesday's Region VI game. Frostproof beat Arcadia-DeSoto County 54-34 in Saturday's District 12 final.


Bradenton Christian

stalls Barons' title drive

ST. PETERSBURG _ Two normally high-scoring teams went cold in the Class A, District 10 final, but Bradenton Christian (21-7) warmed up enough to take a 37-27 victory over St. Petersburg Catholic (23-5).

Catholic led 8-2 after the first quarter and 10-9 at halftime. Bradenton Christian scored 20 fourth-quarter points to take the title for the second consecutive year.