LARGO — With a feisty defense and timely offense, Steinbrenner edged Sarasota 34-33 in the Indian Rocks Christian Holiday Tournament final behind a 12-point performance from forward Rachel Briere.
“We were a little disappointed with not winning the Queen of Palms tournament,” Steinbrenner coach JR Allen said. “We’ve never won a holiday tournament, and we really wanted to accomplish that tonight.”
It took the teams a few minutes to feel each other out before the offenses got going. After Sarasota (15-3) took a 5-3 lead, Steinbrenner went on a 7-2 run to end the first quarter, forcing the Sailors to turn over the ball over five times. Heading into halftime, the Warriors held an 18-13 advantage, but they couldn’t shake off the Sailors, a top-10 state-ranked team, according to Maxpreps.com.
Steinbrenner (19-2) appeared to be pulling away midway through the third quarter, building a 29-18 lead. But Sarasota went on an 11-0 run and tied the game at 29 by the end of the third quarter on a putback by freshman center Madison Pack (11 points).
The fourth quarter was a struggle for points, with neither team scoring until the 5:30 mark on a free throw by Briere (12 points). The Sailors took the lead when guard Camille Giardina (12 points, 8 rebounds) hit a jumper to put Sarasota up 33-32 with 2:50 remaining. Briere gave the Warriors the lead for good on a layup with 2:07 left, and neither team would score again from there.