The T-shirts the Cape Coral Seahawks girls' basketball team wear during warmups say "Unfinished business." The team mantra is "defense wins championships."
Cape High coach Kirk Myers repeated the line Thursday night after the Seahawks (24-1) throttled East Lee County 59-31 in the first round of the Class 5A regional playoffs.
"Defense wins championships, defense wins games," Myers said. "That's what we believe in. Defense."
Cape Coral held East Lee scoreless in the first quarter (15-0) and led 18-0 before the Jaguars scored with 7:37 left in the half. The Seahawks gave up only 16 points total in the first three periods before East Lee (10-13) scored 15 fourth-quarter points against Cape's reserves.
"I thought we came out flat in the first quarter," Myers said. "I really don't know why."
It might have been the time off. The Seahawks hadn't played since wrapping up the District 5A-13 title six days earlier.
"I think that had something to do with it," Myers said. "The good thing is we turn right back around and play on Tuesday" in the next round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Seahawks didn't score until a Crystal Townsend free throw with 4:39 left in the first quarter, and didn't hit a basket until McKenna Beach drilled a three-pointer just over a minute later.
Myers' answer was more defense.
"That's why in the second half I said let's go full-court press, man-to-man. That got our juices going, and I believe once we get our juices going, that we're pretty hard to stop."
East Lee assistant coach Tiana Paez said, "They (the Seahawks) are the number one team in Class 5A, and they work hard. They showed they're a good team. They're a tough team, we're a tough team. They just played a little more intensely tonight."
Cape Coral will be home on Tuesday night against Lehigh in the regional semifinals.
Lehigh (21-4) defeated Lemon Bay 57-47 Thursday.
"We're excited for it," Myers said.
A win Tuesday night would mean a spot in the regional finals against either Plantation American Heritage or Fort Lauderdale Dillard.
Myers had these words for his players: "It's playoff time. We can't take anything for granted. You lose, you go home. So next time we can't have any more flat quarters."
Beach led the Seahawks with 22 points, while Camary Williams scored 16. Rodnisha Mark had 23 of East Lee's 31 points.
Myers was complimentary of the work first-year East Lee coach Anthony Paez had done in getting the Jaguars into the playoffs for the first time in school history.
"This time of year it's about teams who are jelling," Myers said. "They play hard. So great job to him and the program. His girls definitely competed tonight."
East Lee County 0 12 4 15 - 31
Cape Coral 15 18 14 12 - 59,
East lee 31 - Rodnisha Mark 23, Waithe 2, Romero 2, Rodriguez 4. Totals: 14 1-5 31.
3PG: Mark 2.
Cape Coral 59 - Camary Williams 16, McKenna Beach 22, Townsend 6, Mims 8, Ramsay 3, Jones 1, Orozco 3. Totals: 20 12-20 59.
3PG: Beach 3, Mims 2, Ramsay 1, Orozco 1.