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DISTANCE SHOOTING IS THEIR SPECIALTY

They shoot, they score.

Then they shoot some more.

Then they shoot from farther away.

They they get silly and shoot from beyond the arc, and then beyond that.

"Frustrating," Clearwater point guard Veronica Ryan said. "You go as hard as you can at them, and they just back up and make it anyway."

The Boca Ciega girls basketball team rained 17 3-pointers down on the Tornadoes on Saturday night in a remarkable shooting display. More so considering it was the region championship, it was in a opponent's gym, and it was against a team coached by Tom Shaneyfelt.

But even Shaneyfelt couldn't come up with a way to stop the deluge.

"You put pressure on, and you hope they miss some of those 3s," he said. "They didn't."

The Pirates made eight 3-pointers in the first half, nine in the second.

They jumped out to a 31-13 lead, and when Clearwater rode J'Beria Davis back into the game and cut the lead to 46-45, the Pirates responded by making six more 3s.

Consecutively.

Ridiculous.

"I was kind of surprised myself,'' said guard Tory Stephens, who made four of the long-range shots.

But only a little. This is a team that has been shot-happy from Day 1, and once it lost its best inside presence to injury, it became shot-happy exclusively. It is a group that doesn't seem bothered by misses. So it shoots often.

Freshman Tamara Taylor, who is one of the best first-year players Pinellas County has had in years, made eight 3-pointers on her way to 33 points.

She missed once.

She made one from NBA range, and that wasn't good enough - she added another about 3 feet beyond NBA range.

"Tamara's range is from the time she steps in the gym," Boca Ciega coach William White said.

In a perfect world, White says his team would work things around a center. You know, the big girl down low, near the basket, under the hoop?

But when Hannah Stenfors went down with an injury, the Pirates stopped looking in that direction.

I'm not sure that works in Lakeland, where the Pirates will play nationally ranked Winter Haven on Wednesday in the Class 5A state semifinals, but it will be fun watching them try.

The Lakeland Center is cavernous, the lighting different, the rims harder to navigate. Depth perception plays with your mind. Everyone who plays there has said so.

But Shaneyfelt, who has been to the state semifinals eight times, thinks this team could be different and immune to the usual pitfalls. They may be too young to know any better, too confident to buy into conventional wisdom.

"I don't think that team will think about that,'' he said.

Neither will White.

At this point, he has no choice. While Clearwater exposed the Pirates' soft underbelly, if the shots keep falling, then it matters little.

"We are what we are,'' he said.

Which is this: a quick team, eager to run and score in transition, and if that fails, one that isn't shy about shooting.

Stephens said it pretty simple: "We drive, we dish, we shoot.''

And score.

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