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Defensive district final goes East Lake girls’ way

Sunlake’s solid effort doesn’t generate points on the other end as Raygen Bostick leads her Eagles to victory.
A close first half in Friday's district final gives way to East Lake's dominant third-quarter effort and eventual victory. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
A close first half in Friday's district final gives way to East Lake's dominant third-quarter effort and eventual victory. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Feb. 8
Updated Feb. 8

EAST LAKE — Raygen Bostick had 23 points to lead fourth-seeded East Lake to a 50-39 win against No. 2 Sunlake in the Class 6A, District 9 girls basketball championship game Friday night.

East Lake improves to 20-7 and will wait for its playoff assignment, announced Sunday. Sunlake finishes 11-11 and waits on the playoff bubble.

The Eagles used an aggressive trap defense to start the second half and turned a 24-17 halftime lead into a quick 31-17 advantage in the third that they never relinquished.

“That was our plan,” Eagles coach Ryan Quigley said. “We sat back in zone the first half and wanted to trap and see if we could get after some of their ball handlers and force turnovers.”

Bostick scored nine of the the Eagles’ first 11 points in the period to extend the lead to 35-19. Sunlake began to tighten up on defense, but struggled to turn the turnovers into points and trailed 37-24 after three.

“That’s been the story of our season and it’s why we have 11 losses,” Seahawks coach Reesa Hendrix-Pledge said. “We play good defense and we have opportunities, but we don’t have the poise on the other end to take advantage of them.”

Sunlake spent the majority of the game trailing. The Seahawks took a 5-4 lead in the first quarter, but East Lake responded with a 7-0 run to end the period with an 11-5 lead. Sunlake got within four points a couple of times in the first half, but East Lake would always respond.

In the second half, Bostick took over and began to dominate play around the basket.

“She’s the only senior on our team; it’s a pretty young squad,” Quigley said. “So whenever we need a basket we look to her, whenever we need a spark we look to her.”

Sunlake got as close as nine in the fourth when Daisy McQuain made a layup to close the gap to 37-28, but Sydney Rush and Bostick responded with baskets to push the lead back to 41-28 and Sunlake never got closer than 10.

Whitney Rush added 10 points for the Eagles. Cheyenne Coppola led the Seahawks with 12 points and McQuain added nine.

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