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Armwood beats Kathleen

The Hawks advance to play Bloomingdale with a 45-32 victory at the Beef O' Brady's tournament.

Armwood has never won the Beef O' Brady's Holiday Tournament, and it might come up short again this time around. But not before an exciting run.

The host Hawks capped off the opening round of the fifth annual event Wednesday by easily disposing of Lakeland Kathleen 45-32.

Sophomore Moonie Oliver sparked the Hawks (8-4) in the first quarter, and junior Marlana Spencer took over from there as Armwood led from the opening tip.

Oliver scored nine of her 10 points before missing the final three minutes of the opening half with a head injury. She returned in the second half to witness Spencer's game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds.

"She always felt she had to carry the team on her back," Armwood coach Joe Morris said of Spencer. "I told her if she plays her position, the game will come to you."

And it did. Morris also said the rest of the team took notice.

"One thing I've tried to emphasize is that we play as a team and work the ball around," he said.

While Oliver was passing, blocking shots (three) and controlling the tempo, Spencer was driving, rebounding and scoring. That helped free up seniors Diana Feijoo and Reneece Jackson for a combined 16 points.

The Hawks advanced to play Bloomingdale, a 62-49 winner over Tampa Catholic, at 7 tonight. The Bulls took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter against the defending tournament champion Crusaders on the strength of senior forward Elizabeth Espinosa's game-high 21 points.

Tonight's 5:30 game will pit the winners of the early games: Lakewood and Land O'Lakes.

The Spartans, one of the tourney favorites, had little trouble getting past Brandon 60-44 as Quinisha Rush scored 20 points.

The Gators survived the day's most exciting game, edging Plant City 57-54 in overtime.