CLEARWATER – Visiting St. Petersburg won the turnover battle and doubled Countryside’s trips to the free throw line Tuesday night, but that still wasn’t enough.

The revamped Cougars dominated the glass and never trailed after taking a 15-14 lead midway through the second quarter, winning 48-40.

“They get better every game,” Countryside coach Anthony Klemmer said of this year’s team that’s without its three top scorers from a season ago. “They play with so much energy. They play fast, they play hard.”

St. Pete’s pressure defense created six first-quarter turnovers and allowed the Green Devils to take a 13-8 lead into the second. Countryside gave away possession 27 times on the night, compared to 15 for St. Pete. The Cougars made up for that by holding a 54-26 rebounding edge, with 20 of those boards coming on the offensive glass.

Jaia Jackson and J’Adore Jones both grabbed 14 rebounds for the Cougars and Farrah Pippins added nine more.

Countryside outscored St. Pete 10-1 to open the second quarter. Trinity Thomas hit Audry Davis for a transition layup following a St. Pete turnover to put the Cougars ahead 15-14 and the hosts never trailed again.

C-Side’s lead grew to as much as 13 points in the third quarter, but St. Pete’s Denise Hall-Papaleo helped keep the game close. The sophomore scored 14 of her game-high 22 points during the final two quarters, with half those points coming from the line.

On the night, St. Pete went 19 of 32 from the stripe, compared to 9 of 16 for Countryside.

A pair of Hall-Papaleo free throws closed the gap to 44-40 with 2:16 remaining, but the Green Devils wouldn’t score again.

Countryside put the game away off another St. Pete turnover when Davis hit a pull-up, short-range jumper to make it 48-40.

Three Cougars scored in double-figures, led by Jackson’s 12. Thomas put up 11 and Davis added 10.

St. Pete’s Tah’Trhea Brown joined Hall-Papaleo in double-figures with 11 points.

Countryside is off until next week’s busy schedule begins. The Cougars play three district games in four days, beginning with home dates against Palm Harbor University on Tuesday and Pinellas Park on Thursday. The big one will be Friday at East Lake against the unbeaten Eagles.

St. Pete hosts PHU on Friday night.


SP – 13 – 8 – 11 – 8 --- 40

CS – 8 – 16 – 14 – 10 --- 48


St. Petersburg (2-3, 0-2)

Denise Hall-Papaleo – Game-High 22 points, 7 rebounds

Tah’Trhea Brown – 11 points, 3 rebounds

Countryside (4-1, 2-0)

Jaia Jackson – 12 points, 14 rebounds

Trinity Thomas – 11 points (7-8 FTs)

Audry Davis – 10 points, 6 rebounds

J’Adore Jones – 4 points, 14 rebounds