Coaches usually say it’s difficult to beat a team three times in one season. Well, the Father Lopez Lady Green Wave had to beat Master’s Academy four times this season, with the most recent a 58-57 win in the Class 3A regional semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Brown & Brown Field House.
After Lopez led 14-12 early in the first quarter, Master’s Academy ended the quarter on a 9-0 run and controlled the first half to 39-28 halftime lead.
“We looked a little confused that first half,” coach Brad Ridenour said. “But, we made a few adjustments, and the girls came out and played. We looked like we wanted it more.”
The game was a tale to two halves for both teams, as they exchanged roles in the second and third quarter. Lopez went to a half-court pressure set that focused on Master’s Academy’s center, who scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. After giving up nearly 40 points in the first half, the Green Wave held Master’s to just 18 points in the second.
“We could’ve easily hung it up, but the girls just kept fighting,” Ridenour added. “We got punched in the face in the first half, but we didn’t back down.”
Down by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, Lopez continued to chip at the lead with three pointers and fast break layups. Going into the fourth quarter, the Green Wave was only down by three points, and with just one minute left, Elle Cloer, who made four 3-pointers, gave Lopez its first lead since the beginning of the first quarter. Under 20 seconds remaining in the game, Madison Patrick nailed two free throws with just nine seconds to put the Green Wave up 58-55, and a Master’s Academy player attempted a 3-pointer for the tie, but the ball rolled out the rim.
“It’s like every game we play comes down to the wire,” Ridenour said. “This has been our lives these last three games. It definitely gets a little exciting.” Elle Cloer finished with 17 points, and Madison Patrick 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Madison Camporese, who scored 35 points in Lopez’s regional quarterfinal double overtime win, scored 13 points and dished out four assists, while grabbing three steals.
“It’s crazy to be going to an elite eight, especially as a freshman,” said an emotional Camporese.
Father Lopez will play Seffner Christian Friday, Feb. 13, in Seffner.