CRESTVIEW — In time, Crestview High School girls basketball Coach Kathy Combest hopes her young Bulldog team will look a lot like Pensacola High's girls.
The Tigers aren’t very big, but they are athletic and quick. And they use that athleticism to pressure teams into submission defensively.
Pensacola used that pressure defense and athleticism to beat Crestview 66-53 Thursday night, snapping the Bulldogs' 11-game winning streak.
“That’s a good team,” Combest said. “We had to get used to them pushing the ball, and I don’t think any team we are going to meet is that fast.”
In the early going, the Bulldogs battled the Tigers as scores by Jasmine Middleton, KK White and Arianna Simms propelled Crestview to an early 10-2 lead.
As the Bulldogs continued to exploit the Tiger defense, Pensacola surprised Combest by pulling out of the full-court press.
Racine Frank led a Tiger charge as Pensacola closed to within a basket of the Bulldogs with the score 10-8 with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
Shamina Hunter tied the game with a basket off a steal with 3:49 left in the first quarter capping an 8-0 PHS run.
White put the Bulldogs back on top with 3:36 left in the first period.
Crestview led 16-13 at the start of the second quarter, but the Tigers opened the period with an 11-point run, taking a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Pensacola led 24-16 with 5:04 left in the half. Crestview responded with scores from Tiara Payne, White and Middleton to cut the Tiger lead to three points with 3:18 left in the half which was as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way.
Pensacola led 33-27 at the half and stretched the lead to 55-42 at the end of the third quarter as the Tigers coasted to the win.
Frank led Pensacola in scoring with 20 points. Hunter had 16 and Njeri Nelms scored 12.
White topped Crestview with 18 points. Jensis Coleman scored 11 points, all in the third quarter and Simms scored 10 points.
Crestview returns to action at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday against Niceville in the semifinal round of the District 1-7A tournament at Fort Walton Beach.
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Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.