Roundup: GHS, Buchholz capture district championships
Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:23 a.m.
Count Gainesville High girls basketball team as one of those teams that pull together in the face of adversity.
Without leading scorer and rebounder De'ja McPhee for the fourth straight game and being pushed into overtime, the Class 6A No. 2-ranked Hurricanes turned to a senior who could barely run the length of the court.
Kayla Lovett, hampered by a cramping right calf muscle, managed to score five points in overtime to lead Gainesville to a 57-51 victory over Leesburg for the ‘Canes third straight District 5 championship.
“Kayla took our team up on her back and drove us to victory tonight,” Gainesville coach David Gordon said. “Even though she was cramping up, she stayed on the floor tonight as a leader. That's the type of warrior she is.”
Gordon asked Lovett several times if she needed to leave the game, but her sense of duty was too strong, she said.
“I didn't want to leave, because I felt like I was letting the team down,” Lovett said. “I knew I had to push through it. It doesn't hurt when you win.”
Gainesville (24-1) carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Leesburg (19-7) quickly erased it, outscoring the ‘Canes 17-6 in the fourth quarter. Ashley Perry led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points.
The physical game caught up to both teams in overtime. Each team had three players foul out, concerning Gordon. The Hurricanes dress only 11 players, including the injured McPhee.
“I think this game woke them up more than anything, and is letting them know this drive to Lakeland is not going to be easy,” Gordon said. “They really have to put forth an effort being down a great player. They're going to have to do a lot of things they've never been asked to do.”
Lovett lead all scorers with 19 points, followed by Asya Smith with 15.
Gainesville will host Inverness Citrus on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs. Leesburg will play at Ocala West Port.
District 1-7A: Jessica Thomas scored 31 points to lead Buchholz to the district championship with an 80-46 win over Ocala Forest (12-11).
Buchholz (23-4) led 26-9 after the first quarter and 53-24 at the half to cruise to next week's regional playoffs at home.
Jazlynd Rollins contributed 20 points for Buchholz.
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