LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid girls basketball team overcame a sluggish start to post a 43-36 win over Avon Park on Friday night.
The hard-fought Class 4A-District 9 win improved the Green Dragons to 8-2 overall and 4-1 in district play.
"I'm very pleased with our effort," said Lake Placid girls basketball coach Jackie Coyne. "We missed a lot of layups and free throws and that's something we're working very hard to correct.
"Our press was pretty effective and this was a good district win for us."
The loss dropped the Red Devils to 2-2, 4-8.
"This was a game we could have won," said Avon Park coach Paulette Daley. "We were in foul trouble in the second half and had to sit some key players, but we have to do a better job of keeping our composure and playing with confidence late in games."
Avon Park came out strong to start the game as Toryana Jones was able to penetrate the Green Dragons defense to score four of her team-high 13 points.
Connie Dewberry added a basket as the Red Devils took a 12-8 lead heading into the second period.
Lake Placid began to find the range as Anne Webber Callahan scored four of her eight points and Raveen Gobourne added four of her game-high 17 points.
Avon Park went ice cold from the floor in the quarter and the Green Dragons took advantage by taking a 19-17 lead into the half.
"We just didn't execute as well as we did in the first quarter," Daley said. "When we did get a good look at the basket we couldn't get the shots to fall."
Lake Placid came out energized for the third quarter and utilized its tenacious full-court press to force several Avon Park turnovers which were converted into easy baskets.
Gobourne, who finished with 13 rebounds, dominated the paint on both ends of the floor against the foul-plagued Red Devils as the Green Dragons extended their lead to 32-23 heading into the final eight minutes of the contest.
"We're getting better with our press," said Coyne. "We did a good job of anticipating passes and that's important for the press to be effective.
"We also did a better job of hanging onto the ball and executing our offense."
Avon Park refused to quit and battled back as Kayla Sharpe scored four of her eight points and Jones was able to hit a pair of shots to pull the Red Devils within six points midway through the final quarter. Avon Park had several chances to pull closer, but couldn't buy a basket and Lake Placid smartly ran time off the clock on each possession.
Sophomore Quiahja Williams scored four points and Gobourne added seven as the Green Dragons sealed the district win by making just enough free throws down the stretch.
Avon Park is back on the hardwood on Tuesday night with a district home game against the Mulberry Panthers.
"We're only halfway through the season and there's a lot of basketball to be played," said Daley. "We play well in spurts, but we have to play well for longer periods of time to reach our full potential."
Lake Placid is back in action on Monday night with a home game against Hardee. The Green Dragons host district rivals McKeel Academy on Tuesday night and Frostproof on Thursday night.
"We're starting to figure some things out," Coyne said. "We have a full schedule this week and the games against McKeel Academy and Frostproof are really big.
"The district is wide open this year and a pair of wins would put us in good shape for the second half of the season."