Stout defense overcame a second-quarter shooting drought in Fort Myers’ 49-39 win over Gulf Coast in the Class 6A girls basketball regional quarterfinals Thursday night.
With the win, the Green Wave (22-7) advance to face Barron Collier in the regional semifinals. Baron Collier beat Ida Baker on Thursday night. The semifinal game will be played in Naples on Tuesday night at 7.
Junior Jordan Lentz’s second-quarter struggles stood out. She missed all five shots from the field, and looked frustrated after missing back-to-back free throws.
“That happens a lot, actually,” Lentz said. “Usually my first halves are not pretty, and then I have to wait for the second half for shots to get any better.”
But the defensive combination of Stephanie Gemme and Fallon Layport caused the Sharks even more offensive frustration. Lentz got her shot back, finishing with 11 points, and the Greenies pulled away in the second half.
“Luckily, our defense stayed,” Fort Myers coach Ron Riis said. “No matter how many times they came at us, we were able to hold that back and stay focused on our game.”
The Green Wave took Gulf Coast’s only rebounding threat out of the game for most of the first half.
In close coverage, Meghan Hughes committed three quick fouls, putting her on the bench early on. By the time she was back in the game in the third quarter, Fort Myers was up by 8. Lentz, on the other hand, made up for her shooting woes with 13 rebounds, giving her a double-double.
Jazzmyn Simmons led the offensive surge in the first quarter, putting up 5 points. After what was the Wave’s strongest quarter of the night, Fort Myers led 19-12.
“The first quarter was the best quarter we had,” Riis said. “Offensively and defensively, we were all there.”
Lauren Gillingham ended the second-quarter scoring drought with a three-pointer. She led the floor with 14 points and 13 rebounds.