– The Sebring Blue Streaks girls' basketball team held off the Avon Park Red Devils in dramatic fashion by a score of 37-35 on Tuesday night.
The hard-fought win improved the Blue Streaks to 11-2 overall and earned them a season sweep over the Red Devils.
"I haven't seen the stats, but I would guess that this is the worst shooting game we've had this season," said Sebring Coach Mike Lee. "Some of that has to be attributed to Avon Park."
The disappointing loss dropped Avon Park to 9-6 on the season.
"We were trying to work on some things and got off to a slow start," said Avon Park Coach Paulette Daley. "That's not our normal style of play. Whether or not it worked to our benefit, it was kind of up and down.
"We changed things up at times and at the end we just had a few mental errors."
The game had the makings of a Sebring runaway early as Allie Mann connected on two shots, one a 3-pointer, to propel the Blue Streaks to a 7-0 lead.
The Sebring defense stifled the Red Devils who didn't score until there was 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Though Avon Park found it difficult to score in the first quarter, the hot hand of the Blue Streaks went just as cold as they only made one basket in the final four minutes of the first quarter and took a 9-6 lead heading into the second period.
Sebring stretched its lead to 12-8 before Avon Park's Connie Dewberry connected on a 3-pointert to trim the lead to 12-11.
Johntavia Perry followed with a basket to give the Red Devils a 13-12 lead.
Sebring went on a 6-0 run to take an 18-13 lead into the half.
The second half started with each team scoring a basket as Sebring maintained a 5-point advantage.
That was erased as Avon Park's Toryana Jones connected on back-to-back 3-point shots to put the Red Devils up 21-20.
Jones drilled another 3-pointer to give Avon Park a 27-24 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The Red Devils increased their lead to 29-24, but Sebring slowly chipped away going on an 8-4 run to pull within 33-32.
Jones hit a pair of free throws for the Red Devils to increase their lead to 35-32 with 1:23 left in the game.
Sebring pushed the ball down the court and Rondaja Williams made a slicing move at the baseline for the basket and the foul. Williams made the free throw to tie the game at 35 with a 1:16 left.
Shalontay Rose scored to give the Blue Streaks a 37-35 lead with 35 seconds remaining.
With the final seconds ticking away, Avon Park's Jones had the last chance to tie the game, but Sebring's Rose rejected the shot as time ran out to preserve the victory for Sebring.
Jones led Avon Park with 14 points and Williams led Sebring with a game-high 16 points.
Both coaches were complimentary of the other coach and team.
Lee said it was great to beat Avon Park anytime in any sport, but the Blue Streak coach knew it was going to be a fight against the well-coached Red Devils.
"I have to give it to Sebring," said Daley. "It was a great game, an up and down battle. It just did not end the way I wanted."
Avon Park is at home tonight against Lake Gibson where the Super Bowl champs will be honored
Sebring does not play again until after the Christmas holidays.