After doing everything possible to give away a win, Boca Ciega held off Palm Harbor University in overtime, 45-40, on Tuesday.
It wasn't pretty; the Pirates blew several leads and trailed late in the fourth quarter before settling down just in time. Boca Ciega (9-4) took a 38-36 lead on Tiffany Williams' free throw with 21.8 seconds left in regulation, but PHU (7-6) battled back.
Brittani Hicks missed an easy layup that could have tied the score. Seconds later, Hicks stole the inbound pass and was fouled but missed the free throw. LaToya Whiting rebounded for PHU, was fouled and made both free throws to tie it with 3.1 seconds left in regulation.
Williams' 3-pointer from 75 feet that bounced off the rim to end regulation.
In the extra period, Whitney Newton scored a quick layup and Ashley Williams followed with two free throws to give the Pirates a 42-38 lead. After Jackie Dozie cut the lead to two with a score, Tiffany Williams hit a free throw and Newton nailed two free throws in the closing seconds to ice it for Boca Ciega.
Newton played well despite the flu, which kept her out of the rotation much of the game.
Pirates coach Will White said his team showed heart even after struggling to hold on.
"We tried so hard to give this one away," White said. "We lost our composure down the stretch, but I'm so proud of the way they held on."
Boca Ciega jumped to a 12-0 lead at the start, but PHU's strength, combined with Newton's illness, let the Hurricanes back into the game.
"We got some good shots, but we were having to fight under the basket with Newton's illness," White said. "We got some breaks tonight."