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Late layup dooms Panthers

Boca Ciega edges Plant in a back-and-forth battle of top teams 51-49.

By ROBYN DISNEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 20, 2002


DUNEDIN -- The final game of the Dunedin Shootout was all it was hyped to be -- a close battle of top 10 teams that have stingy defenses and a few offensive stars.

DUNEDIN -- The final game of the Dunedin Shootout was all it was hyped to be -- a close battle of top 10 teams that have stingy defenses and a few offensive stars.

After a layup by guard Emmanuel Elamin with less than a minute to play, Boca Ciega held on for a 51-49 win against Plant.

"It was a good matchup between two state-ranked teams who were going at each other all night," Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said. "We just battled and hung in there and we were lucky enough to make a couple plays there at the end to pull it out."

The Pirates (15-3) led 44-40 going into the fourth quarter. But Plant's Michael Williams scored five consecutive points to give the Panthers a one-point lead. The lead went back and forth until Brad Birrenkott's turnaround jumper tied the game a final time at 49 with 2 minutes, 23 seconds remaining.

"Williams did a heck of a job down low," Plant coach Mike Phillips said. "Birrenkott and all my big men did a great job. That was a very physical team that we played. There was a lot of bumping and a lot of shoving going on, so I thought our big men did a great job."

Boca Ciega jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the first quarter behind six points from Marquel Brooks, who finished with 12. Plant (16-4) chipped away at the lead until tying the score at 18.

Williams, who led the Panthers with 12 points, converted two free throws and Tyler Azzarelli made one to give Plant its first lead with 1:48 left in the half. But thanks to Markese Bush's four points and David Kiefer's 3-pointer, Boca Ciega ended the half with a 12-1 run.

Tommy Lampley came off the bench and made a layup and a 3-pointer to continue the Pirates' run.

But like it did before, Plant slowly chipped away at the lead. The Panthers took 3:26 off the clock during a 12-2 run, which was keyed by 3-pointers from Azzarelli and Williams.

Lampley then scored off an offensive rebound to break the tie and hit a 3-pointer to give the lead back to Boca Ciega.

"We've been playing 10 to 11 kids all year long, so it didn't surprise me that (Lampley) did that," Shuman said. "We have some depth and we are working out different combinations. But he did step up when we needed him to."

The only Hillsborough County team to win at the Shootout was Tampa Prep, which beat Dixie Hollins 73-61.

Alex Schulte scored 16 points for the Terrapins (15-4).

Seminole's Dan Plikunas had four 3-pointers to help the Warhawks beat Wharton 62-54.

Tampa Catholic (10-7) lost to Palm Harbor 52-39.

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