LUTZ – Steinbrenner girls basketball coach JR Allen wasn’t all too pleased at his squad’s opening game performance in the Class 7A-District 9 tournament. But his Warriors clinched berth into the district title game and the regional playoffs with a close 56-48 win over Chamberlain.
“We’re grateful at least for the opportunity to get to that point. Whether we feel good about ourselves, I’m not very sure because it certainly wasn’t a very good showing at all,” Allen said of his teams performance.
The No. 1 seeded Warriors (21-2) had only allowed 45 points to an opponent three times over the course of the season, but the Chiefs’ (9-12) offense found holes all over the Steinbrenner defense, and made Allen sweat a little bit.
“They were ready to probably get to Friday night, and it’s not even Thursday yet,” said Allen. “We just didn’t play a good game. That’s the bottom line.”
The Chiefs defense stifled scoring in the first half, frustrating freshman Rachel Briere, who was held scoreless in the opening periods for the first time in her high school career. She finished with 6 points.
“At this point, they’re going to have to find a way to motivate themselves,” said Allen. “I’m just about out of words for them, they’ve got to get it figured out.”
Clarice Devine had 18 points for the Chiefs and Blaire Davis added 12 points and five steals for her team.
The Warriors’ leading scorer, junior Bailey Hooker, was held to only 14 points by the Chiefs.
Steinbrenner will play Freedom for the district title on Friday Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.
Jeff Odom / Sports Editor