High School Sports

Nervous Falcons struggle

ST. PETERSBURG - Carlos Boothby didn't sense it. But minutes into Tuesday's Class 2A-District 12 girls basketball quarterfinal, the Saint Stephen's coach could see it.

His Falcons were nervous. Passes soared out of bounds, and the ones that didn't were fumbled.

Easy shots didn't fall - nor did foul shots. And the Falcons never shook free of their funk.

Saint Stephen's most successful season in a decade came crashing down at Northside Christian on Tuesday when the fifth-seeded Falcons fell 45-11 to Tampa Prep.

As the teary, sniffling Falcons filed past him, Boothby just shrugged his shoulders and flashed a self-deprecating grin.

"Obviously, it was definitely one of those nights," he said.

It came at such a strange time. Saint Stephen's (10-10) had won five straight to secure its first winning regular season - a non-losing season overall - in 10 years. The Falcons had fallen to the fourth-seeded Terrapins (10-14) twice during the regular season, but Boothby was sure his team was playing better now than it was then.

And Monday's practice went well - everyone seemed loose and relaxed. Then came Tuesday's tip-off.

Tampa Prep, which will play top-seeded St. Petersburg Keswick Christian during Thursday's semifinals, got off to an 11-0 lead and limited the Falcons to one first-quarter field goal - a Melissa Ivin jumper that came halfway through the period. The Terrapins answered that bucket with a 12-4 run.

The Falcons, who committed 33 turnovers, sputtered after halftime, scoring all of their points on three foul shots. Saint Stephen's was 5 of 24 from the line in the game.

"I told them, 'Please don't define the season by what happened (Tuesday),' " Boothby said. "We've accomplished things that haven't been accomplished at Saint Stephen's in 10 years. . . . We've got a strong nucleus coming back next year.

"We didn't play well (Tuesday), obviously. But I'm extremely proud of the girls."

SAINT STEPHEN'S (11) - Elan Nguyen 0 0-4 0, Ali Schulman 1 0-3 2, Melissa Ivin 1 0-3 2, Jennifer Tinnell 1 0-0 2, Jennifer Smytka 0 1-6 1, Jenny Boothby 0 0-0 0, Brooke Tharpe 0 3-6 3, Ali Fraraccio 0 1-2 1, Ali Weinkle 0 0-0 0, Maria Freundlieb 0 0-0 0. Totals: 3 5-24 11.

TAMPA PREP (45) - Clara Arrington 3 0-0 6, Latora Lofgren 3 0-2 6, Becca Gwyn 2 0-0 5, Alena Ransom 4 0-2 8, Ayala Wasser 8 2-3 20, Kirsten Kelsey 0 0-0 0, Shelby Mander 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Jarrett 0 0-0 0, Robin Costello 0 0-0 0, Kristen Thomas 0 0-0 0, Tameka Dorsey 0 0-0 0, Rachelle LaFevere 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 2-7 45.

Saint Stephen's 2 6 1 2 - 11

Tampa Prep 13 15 10 7 - 45

3-pointers: Tampa Prep 3 (Wasser, Gwyn). Total fouls: Tampa Prep 16; Saint Stephen's 8. Technical fouls: Arrington, bench (Tampa Prep). Records: Saint Stephen's 10-10; Tampa Prep 10-14.

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