CAPE CORAL - The Sebring's girls basketball team had their remarkable season come to an end Thursday night, as the Blue Streaks fell to a powerful Cape Coral squad, 59-36, in the Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinals.
"They were what we expected," said Blue Streaks coach Mike Lee. "We played hard, we executed our game plan for the most part, and we limited their best player. I'm pleased with our efforts and the way that we played."
Sebring did a solid job of stifling the Seahawks best player, guard McKenna Beach, who was held below her usual scoring average. But Cape Coral had a myriad of weapons to throw at the Streaks.
Crystal Townsend notched a double-double, scoring a game-high 18 points and snagging 12 rebounds. Julia Ramsay added 12 points and two blocks, while Beach found other ways to contribute. Beach finished with seven rebounds, four assists, and eight steals to go along with 16 points.
"A good basketball team, when you take their primary weapon out, has others," Lee said. "And we kept her under her scoring average, but some of their other kids stepped up, which is what you have to do. Good teams do that."
The Seahawks opened the game with a 15-5 run. Cape Coral was reeking havoc in Sebring's backcourt, forcing a litany of turnovers.
Cape Coral led by as much as 21-8 late in the second quarter, but a half-court buzzer-beater from Christacia Dawkins cut the deficit to 25-11 at the break.
The Streaks played their best basketball in the third quarter. They scored 12 points while holding Cape Coral to 15.
The Seahawks opened the quarter on a 6-0 run, but Sebring answered with a contested 3-pointer from Olivia Burnett and a flurry of baskets from Jamiese Wiley and Dawkins to pull within 20 at the end of the period.
"We played hard," Lee said. "But it took us a while to get adjusted to the box and one. They're shooters hurt us initially, but we really played well down the stretch."
Sebring had its best scoring output in the fourth quarter.
The Streaks netted 13 points, closing the gap to 40-23. But for every basket Sebring scored, Cape Coral had an answer. Jazmin House sparked a 4-0 run, but Beach and Meka Sillevis responded by swishing back-to-back threes.
With the game in hand, the Seahawks put in their reserves. Lee did so as well, giving nearly all of his team valuable playing time in an important game. House paced the Streaks in scoring, finishing with 15 points. Wiley added eight points, and Dawkins scored seven, while Burnett contributed six.
"We got to play a lot of girls tonight, so I was pleased with that," Lee said. "And overall this season, we were able to hang with a lot of teams outside of our area. You take the first two quarters away, we played Cape Coral a lot better in the second half."
Sebring graduates three key seniors. Heather Polston, Wiley, and House played their final game for the Streaks Thursday night.
But with a solid nucleus of Dawkins, Burnett, and Lydaliz Rodriguez returning, the Streaks should see continued success over the next handful of seasons.
"We've won over 30 games combined the last few years," Lee said. "I've been pleased with how strong our resolve is. Cape Coral is a good test and we got a great test tonight."