TAMPA — Wiregrass Ranch came into the Jaguar Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament to get good competition against quality opponents, and if everything went well, walk away with a championship trophy.
On Saturday night, the Bulls accomplished just about everything they set out to do, taking the championship game 51-39 against host Academy of the Holy Names.
“We may not have played perfectly well in (the three tournament victories), but we played hard and we got it done when we had to,” Wiregrass Ranch coach John Grant said. “This is all very encouraging for us.”
Wiregrass Ranch — which has never won a girls basketball district title or playoff game and finished sixth in last year’s Jaguar Holiday Tournament — improved to 19-1.
The Bulls again were led by the forward tandem of Logan Seoane and Amanda Melosky, who each finished with 14 points and were both named to the all-tournament team, with Melosky being named tournament MVP.
Against AHN, Seoane and Melosky scored early, pushing the Bulls’ lead to 14-7 after the first quarter. The Jaguars struggled with their outside shooting, which is their bread and butter, particularly from beyond the 3-point line.
AHN (11-6) finished the night 8-for-26 from beyond the 3-point line after starting the night 0-for-8.
“Sometimes when you live and die by (3-point shooting) you are going to have nights where you just don’t shoot well,” Academy coach Chris Severini said. “Unfortunately, tonight was one of those nights.”
Ashley McWilliams led Academy with 14 points, and Siobhan Lynch chipped in 11.
Northeast surges past Bloomingdale
ST. PETERSBURG — After cruising to easy victories against East Bay and Wharton, Northeast was looking for one more dominant performance against a Hillsborough County foe, which would be Bloomingdale.
The Bulls (8-8) raced out to a 12-1 lead in the first quarter, but the Vikings picked up the defensive pressure and won the Northeast Christmas Tournament final 54-33.
“Give credit to Bloomingdale for being so prepared for the things we do,” Northeast coach William White said. “We always talk about having a plan A, plan B and plan C. Once we made the adjustments to how they were attacking our half-court defense, we were able to settle in.”
Northeast (16-6) took its first lead of the game late in the second quarter when Madison Schmidt (17 points) knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:53 left before intermission, putting the Vikings up 19-18.
The Vikings’ half-court press caused problems for the Bulls throughout the second half, as Northeast held Bloomingdale to 13 points in the second half. Emina Podzic and Madison Winningham, who was named the tourney’s most valuable player, paced Northeast with 11 and 7 points, respectively. Katie Montero led Bloomingdale with 9 points and 3 assists.
“(Northeast) was the more aggressive team. They wanted it,” Bloomingdale coach Joel Bower said. “They were winning the 50/50 balls. It seemed like we were hesitant in the second half.”