In the second day of competition in Division IV of the Aspire Elite Classic/Lady Tiger Invitational, Tampa Bay Tech coach Reginald Lawrence feared his Titans would play down to their younger, less-experienced Fort Myers Dunbar competition.
Early on, they did.
Tech shot just 15 of 59 (25 percent) from the field. The score after the first quarter was just 5-2 in favor of the Titans. But despite sloppy play, Tech (12-1) held on for a 39-26 win against host Dunbar (7-3) Tuesday night. The Titans will face Stuart Martin County in the Division IV title game of this six-division, 48-team event at 7 tonight at the Dunbar gym.
"We just didn't come out with the same focus that we had yesterday," Lawrence said. "We saw this team play last night and we took them for granted a little. We just didn't play our style of basketball. We know how to refocus and that's what we'll need to do before tomorrow. Curfew will start early tonight."
Senior Jasmine Rodriguez hit 6-for-12 field goals for 14 points to lead Tech, while fellow senior Datiana Flowers added nine points.
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Gryphons junior Amber Henson had 28 points with 18 rebounds in this Division II semifinal. Sophomore Bre Crum added nine points and senior Lindsey Botts had eight for Sickles (14-1). The Gryphons will play Hollywood South Broward, ranked No. 8 in the nation by USA Today, in the D-II title game at 8:30 tonight.
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Junior Shaunice Hobbs had a game-high 21 points and Shade Williams finished with 17 for Freedom (14-1), which earned a spot in the Division V title game at 7 tonight against Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.
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Double-doubles from freshman Erica Young and sophomore Justina James put the Yellow Jackets (9-4) over the top in this Division III consolation semifinal. Young totaled 18 points and 16 rebounds while James finished with 11 points and 12 boards for Blake. Blake will face Fort Myers Cypress Lake for fifth place.
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A combined 32 points from sophomores Shayla Upshaw and Shayla Wilson weren't enough to get the Dragons (12-2) past Boone (11-2) in this Division II semifinal. Senior Leonella Montalvo's 26 points and junior Jordan Mosley's 23 led Boone. Jefferson will face Pembroke Pines Flanagan in the D-II seventh-place game today.