BRADENTON -- Southeast senior DeAngela Mathis still had a bitter taste in her mouth after losing the Class 5A-District 10 championship game two years ago to St. Petersburg Lakewood.
The loss snapped a 12-year reign for the Seminoles.
The senior scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second half Friday, leading Southeast to a 54-32 win over
St. Petersburg Gibbs.
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"I remember how bad it hurt, and I wanted to win this, get back our district title," Mathis said.
The game was never really in question as Southeast (26-1) outscored Gibbs 27-16 in the first half behind a great defensive effort.
"We don't shoot the ball well; we have to rely on defense and scoring in the paint. Teams play zone on us, so our effort has to be there," Seminoles head coach John Harder said.
The Gladiators (10-12) found themselves in foul trouble early in the fourth quarter.
Following a sweet Mathis left-handed hook shot, senior Janelle Gould knocked down two free throws, giving the Seminoles a 50-32 edge with just under two minutes left.
Gould finished with 14 points, while senior Keshawna Robinson chipped in 10 points.
The Gladiators attempted a full-court press all game, but Southeast used great patience and ball movement to keep the game out of reach.
"We have great ball handlers at the guard position to handle the press, we use the big girls we do have we plug in the middle," coach Harder said.
Bria Bostick lead Gibbs with 15 points followed by Roshanna Streater's 9.
The Seminoles ended the game on a 15-5 run, capping off a 22-game winning streak before heading into region play.
Southeast, which will host Tampa Middleton at 7 p.m. Thursday in the region quarterfinal, is looking to wins its first region championship since 2004.