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Foul shots clinch win for Eagles

By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2002

BROOKSVILLE -- Nobody was more surprised than Rob Wallace when Central's Kyle Keene fouled him with 9.8 seconds remaining in a tie game, sending the Springstead guard to the free-throw line with a chance to win.

Wallace, a 90 percent free-throw shooter, made both shots, and Ramsey Rastatter added two more with 0.5 seconds left as improving Springstead escaped with a 58-54 victory Friday at Central.

"I thought we were going to hold the ball and go into overtime, but the guy came over and tapped me," Wallace said.

"I didn't know what he was doing."

Neither did his coach.

After Central's Alex Ruoff made two foul shots to tie the game at 54 with 11.7 seconds remaining, Bears coach John Sedlack told his team to back into a man-to-man defense.

But Keene, a sophomore forward, pressured the ball in the backcourt, fouling Wallace.

"It's easy to point the finger at the kid that made the play at the end, but I also showed everybody from one end to the other where they lost the game for us," Sedlack said.

"You can't chastise one kid."

In a game that matched big men Josh Scott and Willie Winslett of Central against Springstead's Emory Strachan and Jeff Hill, Wallace made the difference.

The senior guard scored eight of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter as Springstead (4-11) improved to 2-3 in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and 1-3 in Class 4A, District 7.

Strachan finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Darren Hedges scored 11 points, and Hill had nine.

"We're starting to get over the top a little bit," Springstead coach Scott Bennett said.

"It's still a work in progress, but it's learning to win those games that makes you get better."

Winslett led all scorers with 20 points. Scott added 15 for Central (4-8), which fell to 1-4 in the conference and 0-3 in the district.

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