Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tigers' Intensity Key in Win over Mustangs

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tigers' Intensity Key in Win over Mustangs

Article excerpt

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Palmetto grabs early lead, wins rematch with Ranch

PALMETTO -- Intensity was the operative word.

The Palmetto High girls basketball team had it.

Lakewood Ranch did not.

And it showed.

Coming out with the eye of the tiger, the Tigers grabbed the early lead and hung on down the stretch for a 44-39 victory in a key Class 7A-District 10 contest Monday night at Palmetto High.

"We played with intensity, more intensity than we normally play with," Palmettto guard Jermisha Collins said.

The Tigers (15-8; 2-3 in 7A-11) handed the Mustangs (15-3; 4-1) their first loss in district play.

"We didn't come ready to play," Lakewood Ranch coach Tina Hadley said. "They were ready to play. They played with a high level of intensity. We were sleepwalking throughout the entire game."

It was a far cry from the Mustangs' 60-38 win 34 days ago at Lakewood Ranch.

"They are a great team, get up and down the floor, make great passes, shoot the ball well," Palmetto coach Robert Smith said of the Mustangs. "We were not prepared to play that first time. We just had to match their intensity and get up and down the floor as well as they do. And we've got to shoot the ball well."

With the intensity came strong defense, tough man-to-man that put pressure on the Lakewood Ranch shooters.

"We had to put more pressure on who had the ball, not let them get set," Collins said.

"We just tried to contain them," Smith said. "We tried to stay out of foul trouble."

Palmetto began shooting the ball better as a team in splitting four games at the Indian Rocks Christian Tournament in Largo last week, and it carried over.

In addition to Collins, a junior guard who led with 17 points, the Tigers received strong offensive production from senior Brianna Gordon, who dropped in 12 points.

"I'm very pleased with the way we shot the ball tonight for the first time this season," Kelly said. "Gordon made all the difference in the world. Her shot was on tonight and we just kept feeding her."

The Tigers opened a 13-point lead at the end of the third quarter, before Lakewood Ranch made one final run.

Kailyn Scully hit a 3-pointer just before the end of the quarter, and the Mustangs got three quick layups to open the fourth to close to within 38-34. …

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