ST. PETERSBURG — After cruising to easy victories against East Bay (50-25) and Wharton (52-33), Northeast was looking for one more dominant performance against against a Hillsborough County foe , which would be Bloomingdale.
The Bulls would race out to a 12-1 lead in the first quarter, but from there would be outscored 53-21 for the final three periods of play as the Vikings picked up the defensive pressure and won the Northeast Christmas tournament final 54-33 Saturday afternoon.
“Give credit to Bloomingdale for being so prepared for the things we do,” Northeast coach William White said. “We always talk about having a plan A, plan B and plan C. Once we made the adjustments to how they were attacking our half court defense, we were able to settle in.”
Turnovers played a major role in Northeast’s 2-point first quarter, with the Vikings losing the basketball six times. Bloomingdale (8-8) didn’t do a solid job of keeping control of the ball, turning it over 21 times for the contest. Northeast (16-6) took its first lead of the game late in the second quarter when Madison Schmidt (17 points), who was named to the all tournament team, knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:53 left before intermission, putting the Vikings up 19-18.
The Vikings’ half court press caused problems for the Bulls all throughout the second half, as Northeast held Bloomingdale to 9 and 4 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. Emina Podzic and Madison Winningham, who was named the tourney’s most valuable player, paced Northeast with 11 and 7 points, respectively. Katie Montero led Bloomingdale with 9 points and 3 assists.
“The start of the game was great. We were making some shots,” Bloomingdale coach Joel Bower said. “(Northeast) was the more aggressive team. They wanted it. They’re were winning the 50-50 balls. It seemed like we were hesitant in the second half.”