TAMPA – Carrollwood Day moved up to Class 4A this season, which meant it was in the same district as perennial power Seffner Christian. The Patriots made it clear Thursday night that they are the new team to beat.
Four Carrollwood players scored in double figures, including 25 points from Tarrionna Gary, in a surprisingly lopsided 71-36 win. Forwards Tiasia McMillan (16 points) and Weeyah McGill (15 points) were hard to stop under the basket.
"We kind of expected to win this game," Gary said. "We had a game and we stuck with it."
If the game plan was to make easy layups, drain 3-pointers and play suffocating defense, then it worked to near perfection. The Patriots' defensive strategy was to tightly guard Seffner Christian sharpshooters Brylee Bartram and Audra Leipold. Those two were held to 18 points combined, with Leipold scoring 10.
"Not letting their shooters get open looks was the bottom line," Patriots coach Karim Nohra said. "They were not allowed to get open looks. The girls did a good job of containing. I really expected a tighter ball game."
Defense led to offense. The Patriots' fast-break style took a while to get going, but when it did it led to long scoring streaks. It was 10-6 Patriots late in the first when McGill hit a free throw, Jaden Harris made a layup and McMillian hit a 5-footer for a 15-6 lead at the end of the quarter.
Then came a 15-3 run to start the second quarter. Gary hit a 15-footer and a 3-pointer to start the quarter. She ended the game with five 3-pointers. McMillan had two short shots and C.C. Mays made a layup in the run that made the score 30-9.
It was 32-12 at halftime and didn't get any closer. Carrollwood Day went on a 12-3 run to start the third. That included a 10-footer and two 3-pointers from Gary within a minute. By the time the third quarter ended it was 51-23 and the outcome was not in doubt. The Patriots (18-2, 6-0) ended the game on a 12-2 with most of the starters on the bench.
Seffner Christian falls to 10-11, 4-1 in the district.
"We played awfully well when we beat Countryside (74-53 in the Jaguar Holiday tournament)," Nohra said. "I think this game is the second best game we've played this season. I'm just proud of the way the girls played tonight."