Lopez's title run comes an end
February 17, 2010Father Lopez Catholic High Sch
By MICHAEL LEWIS
DAYTONA BEACH -- Brad Ridenour knew Melbourne Florida Air Academy could be this good.
If his Father Lopez girls basketball team wasn't a believer early on Tuesday night, they certainly believed by the end.
The Falcons played superb team ball, passing and shooting and playing defense so well that Father Lopez tried its best to keep up, but couldn't.
The result was a 72-62 victory for Florida Air in the Class 2A regional semifinals.
What had been an expected trip to the regional finals for the Green Wave is now a spot that goes to the Falcons, who will make their first regional final appearance.
"I knew they could be really good, and I think our team did," Lopez coach Ridenour said. "They outplayed us, and we didn't get everyone on the same page defensively like we needed to."
Father Lopez (25-4), which eliminated Florida Air the past two seasons in the playoffs, has relied most of the season on the offensive firepower of senior Jessica Russi and freshman Shannon Cranshaw.
But Cranshaw was bottled up well, held to 11 points, and Russi battled foul trouble throughout the game. She picked up her third foul late in the second quarter, and the Falcons (21-5) took advantage and snared a 43-34 halftime edge.
The Falcons' LaKendra Jones was unstoppable in the first two quarters, pumping in 17 points.
"I think that's where the whole game turned, when Jess got her third," Ridenour said. "Then she got her fourth in the third quarter and then fouled out, and it was tough."
Father Lopez stayed in it thanks to Shelby Salyerds' 16 points, but after pulling to within 55-51 early in the fourth, couldn't get any closer. Jamke Kaplan (17 points) hit two free throws, then a driving 3-point play, to put the game away at 60-51.
FLORIDA AIR ACADEMY Kaplan 17,Rodriguez 12 Acevado 6, Crosby 8, L. Jones 19, K. Jones 2. Totals: 23 16-22 72
FATHER LOPEZ Salyerds 16, Russi 12, Cranshaw 11, Swaby 10, Ortolani 9, Shannon 4. Totals: 25 8-12 62Florida Air 19 24 12 17--72 Father Lopez 13 21 16 12--62
3-point goals-Florida Air 4 (Rodriguez 3, Kaplan 1); Father Lopez 4 (Ortolani 2, Russi 1, Swaby 1). Total fouls- FA-13; FL-16. Fouled out-Russi. Technical fouls- None.