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Girls basketball: Steinbrenner, Strawberry Crest advance

By Tribune correspondents
Published: February 6, 2014 Updated: February 7, 2014 at 07:24 AM
Tampa Bay Tech's Shakela Smith, right, attempts to stop a drive to the basket by Steinbrenner's Taylor Thigpen Thursday, Feb. 6, 2013 in Lutz. CHRIS URSO/STAFF

LUTZ — The Steinbrenner High girls basketball team advanced tonight to the Class 7A-Region 2 semifinals for the second time in as many years with a 41-40 overtime win against Tampa Bay Tech.

“This team is a very resilient,” said Steinbrenner coach JR Allen. “We’ve had seven, eight or nine games just like this, down to the wire where we’ve had to protect a lead or get a lead, and these kids are tough.”

With 12.2 seconds left in overtime, junior guard Tiffani Brazell stepped to the line with her team down 39-40 and calmly hit both attempts to give the Warriors (25-3) the victory.

“I was thinking this is it,” said Brazell, who finished with five points. “This is what I’ve got to. My team needs me, and if this is what they need me to do then now’s the time to get it done.”

The Titans (22-6) began the contest on a 7-0 before Steinbrenner started working the ball inside to 6-foot-2 center Courtney Hall, who racked up 11 points and 12 rebounds. Teammate Rachel Briere finished with 10 points.

- Kyle LoJacono

7A-2: Strawberry Crest defeats Wiregrass Ranch

DOVER- Strawberry Crest (25-4) withstood a slow start, then a furious second-half rally to conquer Wiregrass Ranch 56-51 in a Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal.

The Chargers started slowly, turning the ball over on six of eight possessions in an early first quarter stretch. But then UCF commit Aliyah Gregory capped an 11-0 run with a 3-pointer that sent her over the 2,000-point mark for her career and gave Strawberry Crest a 31-21 halftime lead.

After intermission, Wiregrass Ranch (26-4) scored as many points as they had in the first half, to take a 42-41 lead into the final quarter. TK Kidd and Logan Seoane combined for 12 points in that burst.

The fourth quarter featured lead changes until Crest found an unlikely hero in Terra Brooks. She scored seven consecutive points (part of her 14 total), with an injured Gregory on the bench, to erase a deficit and give the Chargers a 53-49 lead with 1:30 remaining. Gregory returned and iced the game with free throws.

Seoane and Gregory led all scorers with 18 each.

- Mark Chisholm

5A-2: Land O’ Lakes rallies past Pasco

DADE CITY – Pamela Andrade scored 11 points and recorded three steals as Land O’ Lakes came from behind to stun host Pasco in the 5A-Region 2 quarterfinals.

The Pirates outscored the Gators (22-4) 8-0 in the second quarter, taking a 17-9 lead at the half, as Pasco (19-10) looked set to advance.

After trailing throughout, a 3-pointer by Makala Canada with 2:19 left tied the score at 32 for the Gators. Both teams traded buckets before a free throw by Andrade with 55 seconds left gave Land O’ Lakes its first lead at 35-34.

Canada and Andrade each made a couple of free throws in the closing seconds as the Gators closed the game on a 15-3 run.

Brianca Roberts led Pasco with 19 points.

- Kenny Sanders

5A-2: Nature Coast stops Gulf

NEW PORT RICHEY -- The final game of Gulf shooting guard Kayla Kivinski’s career, she tried to push her squad into the region semifinals. Though the Missouri State commit scored 18 points, it wouldn’t be enough as the Sharks came away with a 58-55 victory in a Class 5A-Region 2 quarterfinal at the Bever-Hicks Center.

“This is the end for a lot of girls,” Gulf coach Claire Ennis said. “You let them feel it right now. You let these girls go through what their feeling and you remind them they’re four-year district champions. It’s a life lesson. We’re playing the game of life through the game of basketball.”

Brooksville Nature Coast (20-4) started off strong to end the opening quarter, with center Rita Jarque (16 points, 14 rebounds) notching a few easy baskets. The Sharks built a 40-28 lead in the latter end of the third period, but the Buccaneers (21-4) would battle back in the final period. Gulf came within 50-47 after a layup by Kivinski (20 points, 5 rebounds) with 3:38 to go and the Bucs’ with under two minutes came within 52-51.

Gulf wouldn’t come any closer, as Kivinski’s desperation 3-point attempt, which would’ve tied the game, came off the front rim with time expiring. Seniors Jalena Hawkins and Syann Julian contributed 10 and eight points, respectively.

- Andy Villamarzo

5A-3: Bradenton Southeast ends Middleton’s season

BRADENTON -- Southeast took a 28-point lead at halftime en route to a 48-19 victory against Middleton in the Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinals.

Southeast (27-1) led 34-6 at the half and forced a running clock with 1:25 left in the third period when it took a 46-11 lead. Middleton ended its season at 9-12.

Keshawna Robinson scored seven of her game high 19 points in the first period to spark the Noles. DeAngela Mathis finished with 12 points and led Southeast with seven rebounds.

Middleton converted only 3-of-18 shots in the first half.

- Bradenton Herald

5A-3: Gibbs stops Spoto

RIVERVIEW -- Gibbs advanced to the Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinals with a 65-29 victory against Spoto.

Gibbs improved to 11-12, while Spoto ended its season 4-16.

3A-2: Seffner Christian wins

SEFFNER – Sabrina Whiting became Seffner Christian’s all-time leading scorer, pacing her team to an 81-21 drubbing of Lakeland Christian in a Class 3A-Region 2 quarterfinal.

Whiting became the school’s all-time scorer when she hit a basket with 2:38 left in the first half, giving her 2,000 points. Play was stopped as she was recognized for her feat. She was the high scorer for the game, going on to score three more points to end with 22 points.

The Crusaders (23-5) scored more points in the first quarter than the Vikings (15-9) did for the entire game. Whiting and Sarah Denny scored eight and Nykeria Reed scored five of her eventual career-high 18 points in taking a 29-4 lead.

The advantage grew to 58-13 by halftime as Whiting scored 16 of her points in that quarter while teammate Peyton Walker scored 13 of her 14 points. Denny finished with 13.

- Barry Carroll

3A-2: CDS falls to Fort Meade

FORT MEADE -- Making its first region appearance, Carrollwood Day lost to Fort Meade, 43-24, in a Class 3A-Region 2 quarterfinal.

Fort Meade improved to 20-6.