Benjamin repeats results


Published: Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 2:14 a.m.
Although the stage and the stakes were a lot smaller, the result was the same, as North Palm Beach Benjamin handed the P.K. Yonge girls basketball team a 71-61 loss Saturday in a rematch of last year's Class 2A state title game.
Senior Petrina Goodman and junior Ashley McDonald led the Blue Wave with 15 points apiece, but still couldn't match the effort from Benjamin standout Erlana Larkins, who finished with 36 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.
Larkins, a 6-foot-2 forward, is Florida's reigning Miss Basketball, a three-time Class 2A player of the year and led the Buccaneers to their third state championship in five years with a 73-43 win over P.K. Yonge last March.
"(Larkins) is one of a kind," P.K. Yonge coach Willie Powers said. "She can do it all and she's classy, and it's good to see great players with class."
Larkins opened with 14 first-quarter points to give Benjamin a 19-9 lead, but the Blue Wave battled back to end the half up 31-30.
P.K. Yonge got another 15-2 spurt to start the third quarter, but quickly ran out of gas as Larkins scored 11 straight points to cut the Blue Wave lead to one.
"The type of game they play is exactly what I expected," said Buccaneers coach Ronalee Terry, whose team topped Oak Hall 48-32 Friday night. "My team is a little bit different and we have some younger players who haven't seen this kind of intensity, but we tweaked some things and I'm happy with the result."
Benjamin (12-1) finished off the Blue Wave (8-5) with an 18-3 run to open the fourth quarter and build a 65-51 lead.
Matt Cannizzaro can be reached at (352) 374-5052or sunpreps@hotmail.com.
Regardless of the outcome, both coaches appreciate the value of a competitive opponent, something they both have trouble finding in their home areas.
"I think we played a lot harder in this game, especially the first three quarters," Powers said. "Anytime you get this level of competition it's going to make your team better, and being that we're so young, this is definitely going to help us and make us stronger for the end of the year."

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