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Hot start sparks Hernando title

A lack of intensity didn't cause Largo to lose the championship of the Mustang Christmas Tournament. Their hearts were clearly in the game.

More accurately, Hernando center Bernice Mosby's performance under the boards and nine steals compliments of Ana Mena and Katye Altieri caused the Leopards to win, 58-43.

Hernando (16-1) took an early 10-0 lead thanks to steals on three of seven Largo possessions.

Another nine-point Hernando run ended the first half. Eleven points by Tayana Vieira and a near-flawless first half by her Hernando teammates sent Largo (5-7) into halftime trailing 32-13.

"We played a real good first half," Hernando coach Walt Cermak said. "The guard tandem (Altieri and Mena) worked well together. We work on those kinds of things in practice, but you don't know what will come out during the game. That combo happened to work well tonight."

Twelve unanswered points, six from Monica Adams, brought the Packers as close as 14 at 48-34 in the fourth quarter.

But the effort couldn't contend with the beating that Hernando had already delivered. Vieira led in scoring for the Leopards with 12 points, followed by Mosby with 11.

"(Our players) played well. They never gave up, and I'm proud of that," Largo coach Quitman Wiggins Jr. said. "Hernando is a great team, and the best team won."

Mosby was named tournament MVP. Other players on the all-tournament team were Mena, Altieri, Adams and Dunedin's Dee Feazell and Tina Gillems.

In earlier action, Dunedin defeated Northside Christian for third place, 46-28, and Lakewood beat Indian Rocks Christian for fifth, 49-35.