BRADENTON -- Whenever John Harder is asked about the resiliency of his Southeast Seminoles, he thinks about their two losses.
One to Lakewood Ranch, the other to Lakeland Kathleen on Monday during the first day of the 11th Annual Willie Clemons Holiday Classic, and Southeast pushed both opponents to overtime despite being down by at least 15 points in each game.
The longtime girls basketball coach saw even more moxie Tuesday. And the best part was, it came during a win, as the Noles used a big second half to defeat East Bay 64-33 in a Clemons consolation semifinal. Southeast (15-2) plays for the consolation championship 10:30 a.m. Wednesday against Palmetto, which defeated Braden River during Tuesday's other consolation semifinal. Cavalry Christian defeated Sarasota Riverview in the semifinals 61-39, and will face Lakeland Kathleen in the championship match after the Red Devils knocked out Boca Ciega, 47-35. The title match will be played at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"To compete for a consolation trophy when their hearts were broken (Monday), or they feel my frustration and sadness I wanted them to have a new day, a new life and come back with the idea of a trophy," Harder said.
With the game squared at 21 at halftime, Harder employed a full-court press. The result was a dominating third quarter that saw the Noles outscore East Bay 28-7.
"The third quarter was phenomenal," Harder said.
Making it even more impressive was East Bay, on the strength of a 11-0 run, led 21-15 with a little more than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Leading the way was sophomore Tay Green, who had three pivotal first-half steals and finished with 25 points. Her quickness keyed a Southeast transition game that showed flashes of last season's, which helped the Seminoles to the Class 5A state title.
Green had one point during Monday's overtime loss to Lakeland Kathleen.
"(Tuesday), she came on fire, especially with the defense," Harder said. "Breyonna (Reed) carried us (Monday), Tay sure did (Tuesday)."
Reed had 12 points and Marline Valcine had nine for Southeast, which now turns its attention to the Tigers.
"They're a very good team," said Harder, who called Palmetto's Jermisha Collins "one of the best in the county.
"She plays very well against us and (Robert Kelly) coaches well against us, so it's going to be a tough match (The Seminoles) still believe in this year and I can feel that in them. And they sure showed it to me in the second half."
Palmetto bounced back from Monday's loss to Clearwater Calvary Christian by beating Braden River 62-23 to land in the consolation final against Southeast.
Coach Robert Kelly, who took over Palmetto's program in 2000, has never defeated the Noles, and hopes to snap the skid 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"It's a great rivalry between me and coach Harder, and coach Harder's a great coach, but it's about time for me to beat Harder for a change," Kelly said with a laugh. "We have had great teams, we have played them to overtime and we just can't get over the hump. Hopefully this year, whether it be (Wednesday) or the 23rd of January."
Jermisha Collins had a huge game for the Tigers, dropping in 37 points including 20 of the first 27 for the Tigers (12-6), who led 28-12 at the half after trailing 6-4 with over 90 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
It was a big bounceback for Palmetto, which lost by 43 on Monday after winning a tournament at Cape Coral Oasis earlier in the holiday break.
"The whole thing is building their confidence back up. We did such a good job down there in Cape Coral, and I think they got beside themselves," Kelly said. "Not taking anything away from Calvary Christian, they're a very good team. But I thought we could have played a lot better. I'm not saying we would have won the game, but I don't think we would have lost like that."
Destine Johnson had 10 points for Palmetto.
Jayla Dirden hit back-to-back 3-pointers during the fourth quarter and Larisssa LaBolt had nine points for the Pirates (0-14), who play East Bay at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the seventh-place game.