Two well-matched teams fought for 36 minutes with Bradenton Southeast coming out on top of Cape Coral 54-49 in overtime Saturday night in the Region 5A-3 finals.
The game started as a strongly defensive affair. Scoring was scarce in the first quarter. Cape High did not score until the 1:18 mark of the quarter. Each team got just six points in the first eight minutes. It seemed every possession was tense, and the teams pressed to score. With 2:47 left in the half it was tied 13-13, but Southeast scored the final six points to lead 19-13 at intermission.
McKenna Beach, who led the Seahawks with 17 points, canned a three as the second half began, and Cape pulled within 22-21 with six minutes left in the third. Three possessions in a row Beach drew the defense to her and dished to Samaria Jones for an easy lay-in. Still, the Seminoles scored the final four points of the quarter to lead 30-25.
Again Cape fought back, this time going basket, free throw, basket to tie it at 30-30. The teams traded baskets, and at 2:39 Southeast led 40-32. Beach hit a three, but Southeast countered with two free throws. With another basket, Cape still trailed 44-39. Beach drove the lane and was fouled with 24.9 seconds left. She completed the three-point-play, pulling Cape within 44-42.
Southeast lost the ball on its next possession. Julia Ramsey hustled upcourt and found Meka Sillevis under the for a lay-in with four seconds left to tie the game. The Seminoles inbounded the ball quickly, but Bevin Mays drove the length of the court only to miss mssed the shot to sent it to overtime.
In the extra frame, the Seahawks took the lead 48-46 and had the ball out of bounds under the Seminole basket. Beach got the inbounds pass, tripped on a Seminole player and lost the ball on aquestionable no-call. DeAngela Mathis picked up the losse ball and laid it in to tie the game. On the next possession Cape again inbounded the ball, this time under their own basket, but the pass was deflected. Mathis stole it, drove the length of the floor for another uncontested lay-in. The Seahawks never scored again and the Seminoles made three free throws to win by five.
The win ended a 23-6 season for the Seahawks, who were denied their first trip to the FHSAA Finals for the second consecutive season.
"We're very proud of our girls," said Cape coach Olivia Myers, "but we are extremely disappointed. We played our hardest, and just didn't get some of the breaks."
"We didn't get where we wanted to go," added Kirk Myers. "We wanted to get to the State Championships."
Southeast heads to Lakeland for the Class 5A final four.
Southeast 6 13 11 14 10 - 54
Cape Coral 6 7 12 19 5 - 49
Southeast (54) - Mathis 24, Gould 6, Kelly 2, Reed 2, Mays 15, Robinson 5, Totals: 18 16-27 54. 3PG: 2.
Cape Coral (49) - Townsend 15, Beach 17, Ramsey 2, Sillevis 4, Henry 1, Jones 10. Totals: 20 7-14 49. 3PG: 2.