Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trojans Can Add to Championships; Early Second-Half Spurt Sends Ribault into Title Game

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trojans Can Add to Championships; Early Second-Half Spurt Sends Ribault into Title Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Barney

LAKELAND | Derailed last season and back with a vengeance this year, the Ribault girls basketball team has one stop left on its redemption tour.

The state championship game.

Ribault surged back in the second half to grind out a 51-44 win over Fort Myers Dunbar on Thursday in the Class 5A state semifinal at the Lakeland Center. The Trojans (28-1) were listless for a half, but then took took control to reach their fourth title game under coach Shelia Seymore-Pennick.

The Trojans, state basketball royalty with a record 10 championships, will be favored to add No. 11 on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Orlando Bishop Moore.

"So important, so important," Seymore-Pennick said of getting past the semifinal round. "I think all of us understand how important it is. We want to take that 11th state championship back to our school."

Getting there was far from easy against the Tigers (28-2).

The Trojans put together a huge blitz to open the second half - an 18-2 run that turned the game around for good - and put things away following a steal and a basket by Rennia Davis with 46 seconds to play.

For Ribault, detoured from a title game appearance and a possible three-peat last year, it was consolation a season in the making. And well worth it, too, in its growing rivalry with Dunbar, which marked the fourth meeting between the two in the last five years in Lakeland.

The Tigers were more controlled and played looser until the start of the second half when Ribault flipped the game in an instant.

Unlike last year's loss to Lake Highland Prep in the state semifinals - Ribault was scoreless over the final 1:44 - the Trojans hit their rough patch early and maneuvered through it with a third-quarter blitz that was vintage Ribault.

Relentless pressure. Quick points. …

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