Winter Haven rallies past Sebring
JIM TAYLORSEBRING - The Sebring Blue Streaks girls basketball team has made steady progress during the season.
Published: January 18, 2013
Published: January 18, 2013
Winter Haven came to Sebring ranked one of the best teams in the state and the Blue Devils had to work all 32 minutes to edge the Blue Streaks by a score of 42-39 on Tuesday night.
Both teams are in Class 6A-District 9, and Winter Haven came out in the first quarter with the intention of putting the home team in their place.
Both teams came out firing to start the game as the Blue Streaks held an early 6-5 lead. Winter Haven then went on an eight-point run to take a 13-6 lead.
The rest of the first quarter, both teams played even, each adding seven points as the Blue Devils held a 20-13 lead after the first quarter.
Winter Haven went cold from the floor as Sebring continued at a methodical pace. The Blue Streaks posted 11 points in the second quarter and took a 24-23 lead into the half.
Sebring coach Mike Lee stated that they did not change anything between the first and second quarters.
"The plan coming in was to make them shoot outside," he said. "In the first quarter they were passing and driving to the basket. We just told our girls to get in front of the girl that was cutting so that they did not have a direct pass to them."
Lee said the rest was execution. His players were getting their hands up and that resulted in a lot of deflections. They also challenged their outside shooters which caused them to miss a lot.
"It came down to really good defense, active hands and good rebounding," he said.
Sebring held Winter Haven to single digits in the third quarter, but couldn't reach the double-digit mark themselves, though they did outscore the Blue Devils 9-8 to increase their lead to 33-31 at the end of the third quarter.
Sebring matched their biggest lead of the game to start the fourth quarter on a basket by Christacia Dawkins to take a 35-31 lead.
Winter Haven responded by scoring six unanswered points to take a 37-35 lead.
Baskets by Jazmin House and Shalontay Rose put the Blue Streak back on top, 39-37, with 3:50 left in the game.
From there, the Blue Devil defense intensified to cause multiple Sebring turnovers as they held the Blue Streaks scoreless for the remainder of the game.
The Sebring defense didn't allow a basket during the same time period, but fouls sent Blue Devil players to the charity stripe on three occasions, from where they made five of six to take a 42-39 lead with just under a minute to play.
Sebring had opportunities to tie the game in the final seconds, they missed a 3-point shot with 31 seconds left and a desperation shot from half court as time expired.
Lee took the blame for his team faltering in the end of the game and not having his team prepared for that type of situation
"We have not practiced that yet because we really have not been in that situation," he said. "With districts coming, we will prepare a bit more and we will have all that stuff ready. But we have not done that in practice, so I did not have them prepared for this situation.
"We tried to draw things up on the fly in the middle of the game and that is very difficult to do. That's my fault; I did not have them prepared for those last second situations."
Sebring will play host to another district opponent, Lake Gibson, at 7:30 tonight.
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