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Leesburg wins with second-half surge

Sharese Tafi scored four late points and Leesburg's girls basketball team held on for a tight 67-65 Class 4A, District 9 victory over Lecanto on Tuesday.

Lecanto (10-7, 6-2) lost despite a career-high 36 points by Melissa Foraker. The Panthers made 58 percent of their field goals and 50 percent of their 3-point shots. The Panthers hurt themselves with 33 turnovers but made 20 of 34 free-throw tries to stay in the game.

Their only two district losses have been to Leesburg.

Foraker was frustrated with the loss.

"This was the best game we've ever played (and) I've ever played," Foraker said. "We just pushed and this is the best I've ever seen our team look. We didn't push it up the floor. They had the ability to shoot the three."

The score was tied at 47 after three quarters. Leesburg held the fourth-quarter edge 20-18, including seven points from Pearl Johnson. Foraker scored 12 in the quarter.

Ashiya Hausabrook led the Yellow Jackets (16-1, 10-0) with 15 points on five 3-point goals. Leesburg hurt itself with 25 fouls.

Lecanto's Tara Haddock had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Lecanto took a 16-10 first-quarter lead with Foraker scoring seven points. Lecanto stretched the lead to 37-25 at halftime lead. Foraker had 10 points and Haddock nine in the second quarter.

Leesburg changed the game in the third quarter, outscoring Lecanto 22-10. Leesburg had a 12-0 run and took advantage of 15 Panther turnovers.

"We played a real good first half," Lecanto coach Ron Allan said. "In the third quarter, we didn't do a good job of taking care of it (the ball). The girls gave a great effort. I'm pleased with every kid in the program. Last time, we played their press, we would dribble down to the baseline and throw it away. This time, we took it and beat the press. The difference in the game was the third quarter run. We can't throw the ball away that much."

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