LAND O'LAKES — Entering Friday's Class 7A, District 8 girls basketball game, Springstead and Sunlake appeared to be teams heading in different directions. The Eagles had won seven straight games and were ranked 16th in the Tampa Bay Times HomeTeam 25. The Seahawks, meanwhile, had lost three straight and were in jeopardy of losing their spot in the HomeTeam 25 (22).
But the Seahawks put together a stellar defensive effort to hold the Eagles to their second-lowest point total of the season and announce not to count them out.
Andrea Wallace led three Sunlake players in double figures with a game-high 17 points as the Seahawks rolled to a 50-39 victory over the Eagles.
Kasia Ramirez had 16 points and Mary Moran added 12 as the Seahawks improved to 3-1 in the district and 8-6 overall.
"It was no more than any other game but it was important for their confidence because they are young," said Seahawks coach Reesa Hendrix Pledge of her squad. "They have to understand they can do it but they can only do it together. I think they saw the benefits of that."
Reagan Huden had 16 points and Yhanni Batts added 14 for the Eagles (9-3, 3-2).
The game was close midway through the second quarter before the Seahawks closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 22-13 lead into the half.
The Eagles pulled to 41-35 after a 3-pointer by Morgan Nelski with 2:16 left in the game. But the Seahawks scored the next nine points, five by Ramirez, to close the door on the Eagles' comeback.
"This gives us confidence that we can do good in districts," said sophomore Jenna Gabrielli. "We understood what we needed to do and our defense was on today."
Rick Brown, Times correspondent