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Published Dec. 30, 2014

3A, River Ridge 3, Wesley Chapel 0: The Royal Knights are back in the region semifinals for the second year in a row after ending one of Wesley Chapel's most successful seasons.

"We just played our usual style of ball," River Ridge coach Skip Glover said.

Kendra Secrest sparked the offense for the Royal Knights (18-4-1). Her cross to Nicole Screnock in the middle of the field set up Screnock's 18th goal of the season.

Secrest's little sister returned the favor. Freshman Reagan Secrest's cross from the right flew to Kendra, who floated a ball over the keeper's head for her 18th goal of the year. A River Ridge defense battling the flu hung on to beat the district champion Wildcats.

3A, Nature Coast 3, Gainesville Eastside 2 (2OT): The Sharks went ahead early and scored with two minutes left in the second overtime to earn their first region win.

Silvana Paonessa gave Nature Coast a 1-0 lead with a goal in the first two minutes. After Eastside tied it early in the second half, Paonessa added a penalty kick to put the Sharks up 2-1 with seven minuets to go. Eastside scored on a controversial breakaway with two minutes left in the game to force overtime. Hailey Lalande scored with two minuets left in the final overtime period.

A, Bradenton St. Stephen's 8, Bishop McLaughlin 0: The Hurricanes were outshot and outmatched in the region quarterfinal. Bishop McLaughlin was shut out for only the second time since mid December. The Hurricanes finished 13-6-3.

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Girls basketball

Academy of Holy Names 56, Academy at the Lakes 46: The Jaguars beat AATL for the third time this season, pulling away down the stretch. The first two games between the teams were decided by a combined six points, but Vanessa Vincent (14 points) and Amelia Oliver (13) were unable to stem a strong fourth quarter by AHN.

Bishop McLaughlin 48, Citrus Park Christian 46: The Hurricanes outscored Citrus Park 21-11 in the final quarter to steal the victory, despite making only 4-of-14 free throws. Taylor McDonald led Bishop with 12 points.

River Ridge 31, Fivay 24: The Royal Knights held Fivay to one basket in the first half then survived their own terrible half of shooting for their seventh straight victory. The Royal Knights made only 2-of-26 shots in the second half. Leah Ford led the winner with 11 points.

Gulf 58, Mitchell 25: The Bucs (21-2) won their 11th straight game behind 23 points from Kadejah Huggins-Saunders. Eight of the wins during the streak have been by 20 points or more.

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Boys basketball

Nature Coast 71, Tavares 62: The Sharks improved to 19-2 after surviving an upset big by a game Bulldog bunch in their district finale. Tavares came out smoking, sinking six of their first eight 3-point tries and taking a 40-30 lead at halftime. But the Sharks battled back. Blake Lowman made seven 3-pointers and finished with 25, while center Tyler Bergantino powered his way to 26 points. The Sharks finished 9-1 in Class 5A, District 7, tying for first with Eustis.

Land O'Lakes 56, Sunlake 53: The Gators made it seven straight wins as Ernest McClendon scored 17 in a Class 6A-10 matchup. The Gators (14-6, 7-1) clinched the No. 1 seed in the district. Pedro Pabon had a game-high 18 for the Seahawks.

Ridgewood 52, Pasco 49: Tristan Ficarro and Tony Hays each scored 14 for the victorious Rams. Brain Rodriguez led Pasco with 13.

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By the numbers

3 Wins in a row over rival Sunlake by Land O'Lakes' boys basketball team

19.5 Average margin of victory for Wesley Chapel boys basketball (including a 59-45 win over Gulf on Tuesday) after last week's overtime loss to Hudson

29 Points by Bishop McLaughlin's Marcus Davis in a two-point loss to Citrus Park Christian

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HomeTeam Hot Shots

Standout performances from Tuesday night

Blake Lowman, Nature Coast: Lowman made one 3-pointer in his first seven games this season. Tuesday night, he made seven in one game. The senior guard was, as they say, en fuego, scoring a career-high 25, eclipsing his previous mark of 22 set in his sophomore year.

Kadejah Huggins-Saunders, Gulf: The junior tied her season high with 23 points.

Ernest McClendon, Land O'Lakes: The senior guard is enjoying his best statistical stretch of the season, averaging 19 points in his past three games, all wins.

Tristan Ficarro, Ridgewood: Ficarro, a junior, has made at least two 3-pointers in 10 of his past 12 games.

Kendra Secrest, River Ridge: Scored one goal and assisted on another in a 3-0 region quarterfinal win.

Compiled by staff writers Matt Baker and John C. Cotey.Standout performance? Milestone achievement? Coaches are asked to call 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8123 no later than 11 each night to ensure their team is included in our roundup of memorable performances.

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"In the locker room afterwards I just had to laugh and say, well, we still got the win.''

Joeyn Dearsman, whose River Ridge girls basketball team missed 24 of 26 shots in the second half