In case anyone had lingering doubts whether 6-foot-5 Largo center Candace Sutton is a big-time player, she put those to rest last night. The North Carolina-bound Sutton scored 12 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter and added 23 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead the 4th-ranked Lions to a come-from-behind 59-58 victory over No. 8 Bullis in the semifinals of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Invitational Christmas Tournament.
Largo (7-0) will play Riverdale Baptist (12-0) tonight at 8 p.m. in the final at Prince George's Community College. The third-ranked Crusaders defeated No. 10 DuVal, 50-39, in the earlier semifinal.
"Candace played a great game," said Largo Coach Bob Blair, whose team trailed by 12 points midway through the third quarter. "To get back in the game, we needed to play good defense and get the ball inside to Candace. We got more momentum as the game went on."
Bullis (8-2) held a 43-35 edge when Sutton sparked a 10-0 fourth-quarter run with 4 points, 2 blocks and 2 rebounds to give the Lions their first lead since early in the first quarter. Largo led, 58-52, with 21 seconds remaining when Bullis junior guard Krystalyn Elerbee made a jump shot and junior forward Monique Currie (23 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 4 steals) made a three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within one point with 10 seconds remaining.
Largo senior guard Adrienne Harris made one of two free throws before Bullis sophomore forward Radiance Walters was fouled going for a short bank shot with 0.8 seconds left. Walters made one of two free throws and Sutton gathered the rebound to secure the win.
Earlier, Riverdale Baptist senior forward Joi Jefferson scored a game-high 15 points and added four steals to lead the Crusaders to their second victory over the Tigers (3-2) in 11 days. Riverdale Baptist led 42-39 late in the fourth quarter, then went on an 8-0 run over the final 79 seconds. Senior guard Sarah Jenkins converted a three-point play with 1 minute 19 seconds remaining, then converted two free throws with 26 seconds to play, giving Riverdale Baptist a 47-39 lead.
"I was concerned," Riverdale Baptist Coach Keith Lynch said. "But I told them that this was a heart-check. When we were in the huddle during a timeout, I saw the enthusiasm in the girls. I knew they'd step it up because of the intensity in that huddle."
Notes: Bullis will play DuVal tonight at 6 p.m. in the third-place game. . . . In consolation games, senior guard Sarah Oktavec completed a three-point play with no time remaining to give John Carroll a 49-48 victory over Woodbridge. Carroll will play for fifth place today at 4 p.m. against No. 16 Madison, which beat Milford Mill, 51-48.