St. Petersburg exited Alonso High with two consolation prizes Saturday night: a district runnerup trophy, and the knowledge that atonement might be only two playoff rounds away.
The Green Devils' 40-31 loss to Sickles (24-2) sends them to Sarasota Riverview for Thursday's region quarterfinals. But a win there could set up a fourth Gryphons-Green Devils meeting this season in the Feb. 12 semifinals.
Should that rematch come to fruition, coach Ryan Halstead can only hope his club averts the miscues that thwarted it Saturday. Only 24 hours after collecting more steals (13) than turnovers (12) in a semifinal win against Mitchell, the Green Devils had 25 turnovers, failed to attack the high post consistently and allowed Sickles to flourish in transition.
"Turnovers killed us," Halstead said.
So did Gryphons senior Shawnta Snakovsky (13 points). All five of Snakovsky's field goals were layups, two of which came during an 11-2 fourth-quarter run that gave Sickles a 10-point lead and offset an otherwise woeful shooting night for the winners.
The Devils (19-6) had rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to tie the score at 21-all late in the third quarter. The Devils still trailed by only one, 24-23, when Sickles went on its decisive run.
Kamyia Smith sank consecutive 3-pointers to trim Sickles' lead to 35-31, but the Gryphons made three of their final four free throws to put it away.