Highlanders Avoid Fourth-Quarter Slip, Beats Rockledge 49-36 in Regional Semifinal
Tue. February 12, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. | By Aimee Sachs
By Aimee Sachs
LAKE WALES | Lake Wales nearly let a 17-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter, but the Highlanders held on to beat Rockledge 49-36 in the Class 5A regional semifinals.
Zada Williams had 19 points — eight in the first quarter — while Takiba Tubbs scored nine points and Shayla Sewell added eight points for the Highlanders.
Lake Wales advances to play St. Petersburg-Lakewood on the road at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Lake Wales coach Demetrius Sanders groaned after the game when rehashing the fourth quarter, in which Rockledge outscored Lake Wales 22 to 19.
"Tonight we tried to give this thing away with turnovers and foolish passes," Sanders said. "We've got to learn that in a game like this, you have to be smart. You can't keep letting the team stay in the game. We let them stay in the game and it made it a tough game. But down the stretch, our free throws once again brought us through.
"So, thank God for free throws and that work we've been doing on free throws."
Lake Wales jumped to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter, holding Rockledge scoreless until Shanikqua Smith's free throws at the 1:36 mark. The Raiders didn't score a field goal until Smith (14 points) knocked down a 3 at the 4:50 mark in the second quarter, making it a 20-5 game.
"We made many mistakes early on and it killed us," Rockledge coach Reuben Williams said.
But Williams' team threatened in the fourth quarter. Junior LoShaven Jones exploded for 10 fourth-quarter points. Jones hit back-to-back jumpers at the 2:35 mark, cutting the Highlanders' lead to 41-33.
Sewell answered with a layup, drawing a foul and converting the free throw to make it 44-33. Rockledge's Tayla Greene brought the Raiders within nine with a bucket with 1:30 remaining. Lake Wales was able to close it out thanks to Tucker's free throws and Emily Pretorius' jump shot at the final buzzer.
The Highlanders admit they got caught up in thinking ahead to the regional finals and being one win away from state.
"We just have to keep up the intensity and go hard every quarter," Williams said.
Sewell says she believes this is the Highlanders' year.
"We really want it this year," she said. "We just need to play the way we've been playing on defense."
ROCKLEDGE (36): Shanikqua Smith 14, LoShaveon Jones 10, Tayla Greene 5, Tajanee Chappel 5, Tatyana 2.
LAKE WALES (49): Zada Williams 19, Takiba Tubbs 9, Shayla Sewell 8, Sha'cria Wertz 5, Emily Prietorius 6, Elicia Tucker 2. Totals 18 17-24.
RKL 2 6 6 22 — 36
LWHS 12 10 9 18 — 49
Record: Lake Wales 18-11, Rockledge 16-10.