AATL secures Jaguar crown
TAMPA - Six is enough for the Academy at the Lakes girls basketball team. With only six players on its roster — Taylor Polasky, Janice Cassanello, Tatiana Manuel, Monique Montoute, Timecia Cohen and Andrea Mauger — AATL defeated Plant 51-37 on Saturday night to win the Jaguar Holiday Tournament. "We knew what we had and knew what we had to do," said AATL coach Karim Nohra, who was missing four players to mononucleosis, a broken hand, a vacation in China and another vacation in California. "Physically we were prepared and (strategically) we knew how we were going to sub." The Wildcats (16-1) actually started slow before taking a 7-5 lead with a minute remaining in the first quarter. When the first quarter ended, AATL held a 12-5 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.A huge key was the full-court pressure applied by AATL, and in particular the guard play of Cohen. She finished with nine points, efficiently ran the offense, caused much trouble for Plant's guards and was named the tournament's most valuable player. Knowing Plant was without two guards who are out for the season with injuries, Nohra said, "We made a point to apply pressure. … We never let (Plant) get into an offensive rhythm." Plant (12-5) hung tough until midway through the second quarter when it fought back to tie the score at 15. AATL, however, answered with a 17-0 run that stretched deep into the third quarter and all but buried the Panthers, who missed layup after layup. "We couldn't make a layup to save ourselves," Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. "It was amazing how many layups we missed. I guess it was just one of those things." Manuel led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Mauger with 14.