Hurricanes edge Panthers in girls hoops

Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 11:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 11:29 p.m.

NEWBERRY — Gainesville High School girls basketball coach David Gordon said Wednesday night's game with Newberry was the worst his team has played all season.

Missed layups and turnovers were abundant during what was a sloppy, yet physical, up-and-down affair between two of the area's better teams.

But it was the Hurricanes who were able to grind out a 46-38 win over Newberry.

Marrisa Lee netted a game-high 14 points to go along with eight rebounds, while her backcourt mate Kayla Lovett followed with 11 points for the Hurricanes, who are fifth in Class 6A, according to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches/Source Hoops rankings.

“We did not come out focused and attentive and playing like Gainesville High School,” Gordon said. “A win is a win though. I hope that this is one that we need to get out of our system before districts (tournament) start.

“Everybody has one of those type games, and I hope and pray that this has been ours.”

Newberry, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, opened the season with a 21-point loss to GHS. The Panthers hung tough in the rematch, but fell to 16-2, with both setbacks coming to the Hurricanes (17-2).

GHS led 17-12 with 2:16 left in the second quarter, before Newberry closed out the period with a 6-0 run to carry an 18-17 advantage into halftime. After the intermission, which included a short power outage in the gym, both teams battled back and forth. Ambria Rutledge, who paced Newberry with 13 points, drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the home team a 25-24 edge at the 3:58 mark. That would be Newberry's last lead of the night.

Lovett nailed a pair of 3-pointers against the Panthers' 2-3 zone, in a span of nine seconds to give GHS a 5-point cushion, which it carried into the fourth quarter.

With 5:27 left to play, Newberry's top player, Lasharrah Nattiel fouled out with four points and 10 rebounds. GHS took advantage and enjoyed its biggest lead of the night 41-29 on a lay up from Asya Smith with 3:21 to go, en route to the win.

“We play tomorrow (tonight) against Leesburg, which is an important district game,” Gordon said. “So maybe, I don't know if they were storing their energy for tomorrow. I pray and hope that was what they were doing, I'll see tomorrow.”

Despite the loss, Newberry coach Ray Parrish was pleased with his club's effort.

“We did what we needed to do to have this game where we wanted it at the end,” Parrish said. “They didn't quit fighting. If they play like they played tonight, this team is going to be tough to beat.”

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