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Turner’s double-double helps Dr. Phillips outlast Colonial

Trinity Turner scores 15 points, grabs 16 rebounds, and teammate Sariah Johnson adds 15 to help defending champs roll

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Colonial tried to stop Dr. Phillips junior Trinity Turner’s scoring. But Turner carried the Panthers in other ways.

With a playoff atmosphere prevalent, Turner had 15 points and 16 rebounds, and teammate Sariah Johnson added 15 points and eight rebounds Wednesday to help the defending Class 7A champion Panthers outlast the Grenadiers, 46-34.

Dr. Phillips freshman guard Kendall Perry drives the lane and draws Colonial defenders Breanne Eccleston (21), Carmen Richardson (10) and Sophya Barreiro (2) during the second quarter of their nondistrict game Wednesday. Perry had 13 points, and Richardson had 12 points.

Dr. Phillips freshman guard Kendall Perry drives the lane and draws Colonial defenders Breanne Eccleston (21), Carmen Richardson (10) and Sophya Barreiro (2) during the second quarter of their nondistrict game Wednesday. Perry had 13 points, and Richardson had 12 points.

The clash matched defending Class 7A champion Dr. Phillips (6-0) and Class 7A semifinalist Colonial (3-2). Dr. Phillips coach Anthony Jones even called it a possible preview of the state final.

“When you have a cross-town rivalry game, you can’t simulate this in practice,” Jones said. “When we step on the court with a team of that caliber, it’s going to be a playoff atmosphere.”

Dr. Phillips' Sariah Johnson, right, puts up a shot against Colonial's Breanne Eccleston during the first half of their game Friday.

Dr. Phillips' Sariah Johnson, right, puts up a shot against Colonial's Breanne Eccleston during the first half of their game Friday.

Dr. Phillips proved its rebounding game was ready, as the Panthers outrebounded Colonial 41-20. Colonial coach Cindy Richardson was frustrated that her taller Grenadiers were outmuscled on the boards.

Jones said that was the key to the game.

“We knew they were bigger inside. We knew they were stronger inside. We had to control the boards,” Jones said. “I told them, ‘We don’t stand a chance if we can’t keep them off the boards. If we win the rebounding game, we win. If we lose, they’re going to dominate and put it down our throats. Our girls fought to win the rebound game.”

Carmen Richardson led the Grenadiers with 12 points. However, the Panthers made her earn each point, and bottled up Sophia Barreiro for most of the game.

Dr. Phillips also held 6-foot-3 junior Breanne Richardson to eight points – six of them after the game was out of reach. Johnson, Jordan Ward, Ronnice Berry and 6-foot-2 Elise Horne combined to slow down the Grenadiers’ inside game.

“We’ve been waiting on Sariah since the beginning of the season to pick her game up,” Jones said. “Sariah is one of those players who can give us big games. Very skilled, very quick. This is probably her best game all season. We’ve been waiting on this. She picked the right game to step up and help out the rest of the team.”

The game started off as a slugfest. Colonial led 8-7 after one quarter. The Grenadiers focused on Turner, a 5-foot-8 junior who has already received 13 Division I offers. They allowed Turner only one first-quarter point. Johnson, however, carried the Panthers by scoring six points in the first quarter. Richardson scored four points in the first quarter.

Colonial's Sophya Barreiro goes for a long rebound ahead of Dr. Phillips' Sariah Johnson during the first quarter Wednesday.

Colonial's Sophya Barreiro goes for a long rebound ahead of Dr. Phillips' Sariah Johnson during the first quarter Wednesday.

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The Panthers took charge in the second quarter. Freshman Kendall Perry scored five of her 13 points in the second quarter, and Dr. Phillips held Colonial scoreless for 2:58. During that stretch, Dr. Phillips went from trailing 10-9 to leading 18-10. The Panthers eventually led 22-14 at the half.

“I caught the ball, waited for them to come up to me, and I’d just go,” Perry said. “Whatever play we run, I have a defender, and I just go and take the opportunity.”

The Grenadiers went another 5:22 without scoring in the third quarter. By the time Richardson hit a jumper with 3 seconds left in the third, the Panthers had built a 32-18 lead.

Turner had two buckets in the third quarter. She said the Panthers had to keep shooting.

“We had to bond as a team and communicate,” Johnson said about the second and third quarters. “Defense wins games.”

But as Richardson, Barreiro and Breanne Eccleston sparked up for the Grenadiers in the fourth, Turner matched their intensity with four points. The Panthers got scoring from four others in the final quarter.

Colonial coach Cindy Richardson said her team needs to focus on defense. She said the Grenadiers were outworked on defense.

“We got outhustled. We didn’t box out very well,” Richardson said. “We turned the ball over way too many times.”

Dr. Phillips' Ronnice Berry (23) tries to intercept a pass intended for Colonial's Milan E Santos during the first half of their game. However, Santos got the ball back. Santos had nine points, while Berry had four rebounds and three steals.

Dr. Phillips' Ronnice Berry (23) tries to intercept a pass intended for Colonial's Milan E Santos during the first half of their game. However, Santos got the ball back. Santos had nine points, while Berry had four rebounds and three steals.

Dr. Phillips was playing without starting guards Alyssa Virella and Anilys Rolon, who were out with unspecified injuries. Jones said Rolon, a sophomore who averaged 8.8 points per game as a freshman and has received offers from Marquette, Robert Morris and Fairleigh Dickinson, should return next week. The Panthers may have to wait a few weeks for Virella, a senior, to return.

Jones also mentioned that several barriers stand between the Panthers and a repeat. Oak Ridge awaits on Dec. 13, and the South Florida Showcase in January puts St. Thomas Aquinas in the Panthers’ path. The Panthers also play the She Got Game Classic in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Plus a Jan. 18 game at Class 4A champion Lake Highland Prep will also test Dr. Phillips.

Turner, however, loves playing tough foes. “It helps us a lot. With us, we have to keep playing harder teams to help us at the end,” she said. “Play harder teams, and it’ll work out. It’ll pay off at states.”

Colonial coach Cindy Richardson gives some instruction to guard Sophya Barreiro. Barreiro had nine points and four steals in the Grenadiers' 46-34 loss to defending 7A champion Dr. Phillips on Wednesday.

Colonial coach Cindy Richardson gives some instruction to guard Sophya Barreiro. Barreiro had nine points and four steals in the Grenadiers' 46-34 loss to defending 7A champion Dr. Phillips on Wednesday.

Colonial's Sophya Barreiro (2) try to outmuscle Dr. Phillips' Ronnice Berry (23) and Jordan Ward for a rebound during the first quarter.