Crusaders edge Dragons

TAMPA - After a sloppy win over Lake Placid in the Class 4A-Region 3 girls quarterfinal, Tampa Catholic coach Matthew Rocha put everything into perspective.

"It's always better to win ugly than to lose pretty," Rocha said. "We had to gut it out, but we'll take it."

The Crusaders won, 50-34, but it was a battle of turnovers.

Tampa Catholic has no seniors and just three juniors on the roster, but they were able to jump out to a 15-2 lead late in the first quarter and were never in danger against a scrappy Green Dragon squad.

Alise Davis led Tampa Catholic with 15 points, including 11 in the second half, and Infinity Lyle and Mia Blocker combined for another 22.

"We are blessed to have such a young group," Rocha said. "Anyone on this team can score on any given night."

The Crusaders had a lot of help from Lake Placid.

The Dragons missed their first 11 free throws and ended up going 6-of-24 from the line.

It wasn't pretty, but Tampa Catholic ran out to an 11-0 lead before Lake Placid scored. Blocker had eight points in the first quarter alone.

Lake Placid wouldn't go away. The Dragons cut the deficit to 12 at the end of the third quarter, but that's when Davis, a freshman, took charge. She controlled the offensive and defensive boards and the Crusaders pulled away.

Tampa Catholic, which improved to 17-12, moves on to Tuesday's regional semifinals where the Crusaders will play rival Academy of the Holy Names.

Lake Placid, which was in a rebuilding year, has a solid nucleus of players coming back and the future looks bright for the Green Dragons on the hardwood.