February 12, 2010Father Lopez Catholic High Sch
By MICHAEL LEWIS
DAYTONA BEACH -- Thursday night had to feel strange for the veterans on the Father Lopez girls basketball team.
For the last several years the Green Wave and Orlando's The First Academy have had some incredibly close games in the state 2A playoffs. For three of the last four seasons the Royals have knocked Father Lopez out of the postseason.
Thursday night, some long-awaited revenge came to the Green Wave.
Behind 26 points from freshman star Shannon Cranshaw and 19 from senior leader Jessica Russi, Father Lopez blew the game open early and cruised to a 58-39 victory.
Father Lopez (25-3) will play host to Melbourne Florida Air Academy Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
"Coach Brad (Ridenour) reminded us about last year's loss before the game, but I definitely have been thinking about it for a while," Russi said. "Definitely, I was extra fired up for this one. It feels really, really good."
"We owed them a little bit," Ridenour said. "We got the big lead and then we got a little sloppy, but it feels extra nice to finally beat them again."
Father Lopez raced out with gusto to a 22-7 first-quarter lead, behind eight first-quarter points from Cranshaw. The second quarter was more of the same, as Russi (who had six rebounds as well) drained 3-pointers on successive possessions, stretching the Green Wave lead to 28-10.
Only one starter returned from The First Academy's state runner-up team in 2009, but they threatened to make a game of it briefly in the third quarter. But after the Green Wave deficit was cut to 11 in the opening minutes, an 11-0 run by Lopez ended any suspense.
"I know everyone was talking about how big this game was, so it was good to see us play well," said Cranshaw, who drained five 3-pointers. "We know it's going to get tougher from here."
The First Academy Steinke 18, Grant 5, Tesh 4, Hair 4, Jones 2, Kuck 2, Cole 2, Burns 2. Totals: 10 17-22 39.
Father Lopez Cranshaw 26, Russi 19, Salyerds 6, Ortolani 5, Ralston 2. Totals: 23 5-9 58.The First Academy 7 11 5 16-39 Father Lopez 22 12 11 13-58
3-point goals-First Academy 2 (Tesh 1, Grant 1); Father Lopez 7 (Cranshaw 4, Russi 3). Total fouls- TFA-14; FL-18. Fouled out-None. Technical fouls- None.