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Barons aim for a sweet sweep of state crowns

Palm Harbor University did it in soccer.

St. Petersburg Catholic can still do it in basketball.

In the past two weeks, the Hurricanes won boys and girls soccer titles, becoming just the sixth school in state history to win championships in boys and girls soccer in the same year.

The Barons are trying to become the sixth school in state history to make it a clean sweep in basketball. They still have some work to pull that off. The girls did their part, winning the Class 3A semifinal Wednesday to advance to Friday's final. The boys play in the region final Saturday.

OUCH!: SPC coach Nick Vandewalle said Holly Janicki and Kate Carl have slight meniscus tears and could see limited time or not play at all in the final.

Both were injured earlier in the week, but played against Gulliver Prep. Janicki is cleared to play. Carl's status is unknown, though Vandewalle said she likely will be available.

"It was tough," Vandewalle said. But give them credit. They fought through the pain and helped us."

SLOW START: The Barons' day did not go exactly as planned. The team bus broke down in Lakeland after a pregame meal, which limited the amount of time SPC had to go over its game plan.

That showed early on, as the Barons managed just two field goals and fell behind 16-4.

Things didn't get much better. SPC committed 20 turnovers, had 24 personal fouls and was 12-of-23 in free throws, including 1-of-8 down the stretch.

"It was just a bad day," Vandewalle said. "The good thing was we won."

SUPER SEVEN: In the press conference after Largo's loss to Naples Barron Collier, the talk was of the Packers' depth - or lack thereof.

Largo had just seven players, the same ones coach Dee Feazellhas used all season. That made the bench look bare compared to the Cougars', who had 10 players see playing time.

That made things tough, especially with Courtney Bell fouling out and Ebony Walker playing most of the fourth quarter with four.

Still, Feazell said she never thought of adding more players this season.

"Seven is a good number," she said. "These are the girls that got us here. It's not the amount of players you have, it's the amount of heart. And these girls showed a lot of it this year to get this far."

- BOB PUTNAM, Times staff writer