ST. PETERSBURG -- Southeast and Lakewood Ranch were looking for an adrenaline boost heading into girls basketball district tournament play this week.
Although the scoreboard did not reflect it, both teams earned respect in Saturday's Bright House Sports Network Girls basketball doubleheader at Northeast High.
The Seminoles rolled to a 60-34 victory over Northeast and will enter their Class 5A-District 11 tournament on an 11-game win streak.
Even in defeat, Lakewood Ranch got what it needed in dropping a 49-48 overtime thriller to Winter Haven, the top-ranked team in Class 7A.
The Mustangs, ranked second in 7A, came into the game wondering if they were good enough to play with the Blue Devils.
It showed in the beginning when Lakewood Ranch fell behind 11-0, but the Mustangs earned their way back into the game and if not for a Hail Mary three-pointer by Winter Haven just before the halftime buzzer, they might have come home with victory.
"What we got out of this game today is that we know we can beat them, especially if we can get all our starters on the floor," Lakewood Ranch head coach Tina Hadley said. "In the beginning of the game, we were tight and had problems handling their press, but once we settled down we played well."
Using its full court press, Winter Haven (17-3) caused six Lakewood Ranch turnovers in the opening period. The Mustangs (20-5) settled down to trail 19-10 heading into the second quarter.
Lakewood Ranch cut its deficit to 25-20, but Winter Haven's Christiana Scott nailed a basket just as the buzzer sounded to give the Blue Devils a 28-20 lead at the half.
The Mustangs kept chipping away even after Aleah Robinson, one of their top wing players, had to leave the game less than two minutes into the third quarter with a hamstring injury.
A three-point play by its 6-foot-2 superstar LaDazhia Williams cut Ranch's deficit to 44-42 in the final minutes and a free throw by the junior center sent the game into overtime.
A driving layup by Elise Spiller to open the extra session gave Lakewood Ranch its only lead, but Winter Haven answered with a five-point run. Another Spilled layup brought the Mustangs within 49-48 with 1:22 left.
Lakewood Ranch called a timeout with 10.4 seconds left and tried to isolate Williams, but she was tightly guarded and the Mustangs never got off a shot as the game ended.
"On the last play, we were trying to get an isolation for LaDazhia, but it didn't work," Hadley said. "In the beginning, the girls had to get adjusted to the press, and realize we can do it. We prepared for it, but you don't really know how it's going to go until you are in the middle of it. Once they figured it out and relaxed, we played well."
Williams led Lakewood Ranch with 21 points and pulled in nine rebounds. Spiller had 18 points, and both girls shot 7-17 from the field. After the first period, the Mustangs committed nine turnovers and for the game shot 17-46 from the field. Winter Haven connected on 20 of 61 field goal attempts and was 4-13 from beyond the arc.
Using a swarming defense led by Shauntavia Green, Southeast (21-3) came up with 24 steals in dominating Northeast (16-8). The Seminoles led 16-4 after one period and took a 32-15 lead into halftime.
Green had a night to remember with a game-high 22 points, 14 steals and six assists. Her backcourt mate, Breyonna Reed, contributed 13 points, and Marline Valcin led the Seminoles with 11 rebounds.
"I blocked the cameras out and just played the way I play, nothing changed," Green said. "It will get us ready for next week. We never relax, we keep going and going. We never calm down on the court. I just try to watch the ball. Wherever it's at that is where I am at."
Southeast hasn't lost since the beginning of the year, and Lakewood Ranch had won eight straight since the New Year. The Seminoles are now without guard Sophie Giardina, one of their top scorers, who left the team. She averaged 12.3 points last season as a sophomore.
"I just wanted competition, and I think we got that," Southeast head coach John Harder said. "Northeast was second or third in its district and is a good team. I am very, very pleased with Southeast, and Shauntavia was phenomenal. We shared the ball, and I saw a lot of good passes. And we got our whole bench in."
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.