Buchholz girls overwhelm Ocala Forest in hoops

Buchholz junior guard Jessica Thomas scored 22 points against Ocala Forest on Tuesday.

File photo
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:37 p.m.

The Buchholz girls have dominated the Class 7A, District 1 race from the beginning this season, and Tuesday's league contest against Ocala Forest showed why.

The Bobcats, ranked No. 1 in 7A, had too much defensive pressure and too much inside-outside scoring for the Wildcats to stay close. The visitors were simply overmatched.

Jessica Thomas and Onteria Maddox both scored 22 points to lead five Buchholz players in double figures for a convincing 96-55 victory at Bud Seymour Gymnasium.

The Bobcats (20-2) have pretty much dominated most of their opponents this season, with the exception of 8A No. 1 Orlando Dr. Phillips and 6A No. 1 Orlando Edgewater, the top two teams in the overall state rankings, according to MaxPreps. At No. 3 is Buchholz.

“We feel like what we are doing is what we are supposed to be doing,” said Bobcats coach Rebecca Williams, who led her team to its first Final Four in 11 years last year. “We lost to the top two teams in the state. We are taking care of everyone else not to move down. We just got to keep working hard.”

Tori Baggett added 17 points for Buchholz while teammates Kimberly Sinisterra had 13 and Jazlynd Rollins 10. Thomas had three of her team's eight 3-pointers, while Baggett and Rollins each had a pair.

The Bobcats went on a 13-4 run midway in the first quarter to break from a 9-9 tie, and open a 22-13 advantage, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Thomas. That lead grew to 16 (32-16) by the end of the first period.

Forest (15-7) scored eight straight points early in the second period to close within 11 (37-26), but that would be as close as the Wildcats would get. Sarah Reeves' 3-pointer sparked a 16-6 Buchholz run for a commanding 53-32 edge at the half.

Shekinah Gibson led the Wildcats with 19 points.

The Bobcats played Tuesday without forward Mariah Harris, who was out sick. Williams expects her to be ready Thursday when Buchholz plays host to district foe Tallahassee Chiles on senior night. The Bobcats cap their league schedule at home Saturday against Tallahassee Lincoln, then close the regular season at once-beaten and 3A No. 1 P.K. Yonge next Tuesday.

Buchholz will host its district tournament, which opens on Feb. 2

“When the district comes, I told them we are our biggest enemy,” Williams said. “If we don't work hard and play together, that's what hurts us.”

Contact Larry Savage at 352-374-5050 or larry.savage@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/sunpreps

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