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Distractions cause stumbles

Chamberlain is one of the area's better teams, but lack of focus can hurt when playing the always-tough Gaither.

By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2002


NORTH TAMPA -- In winning its Christmas Tournament a few weeks ago, Chamberlain showed both sides of its psyche.

The Chiefs played well in running up a huge lead against Gaither in the championship game. Then, playing sloppily, they watched that lead vanish as the Cowboys nearly won the game.

Chamberlain managed to pull out the victory.

But "we lost a little focus," said Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin. "We've stumbled at times this season. And I'm not sure we're playing as well since we were before Christmas."

Still, at 16-8, the Chiefs remain one of the area's better teams and will try to establish that during their game against Gaither Saturday at 6 p.m. And if there is any mythical North of Tampa-area championship to be won, this is the weekend to do it. Chamberlain has beaten Gaither twice this year but Wharton has defeated the Chiefs twice. Wharton, meanwhile, also lost to Sickles before a late rally preserved that win.

"Gaither is playing well," said Aplin. "And they are always tough when they play us. What we are trying to do is regain that focus and play with some consistency."

That begins with Otis White and Willie Patrick.

In the senior duo, the Chiefs have proven scorers, team leaders and the players who have the ball in their hands with the game on the line.

"They really carry the load for us," Aplin said of his two standout players. "They're seniors, they are playing really well for us and we rely on those guys."

CHAMBERLAIN CHIEFS

Coach: Doug Aplin

Record: 16-8 (not counting game on Jan. 23)

Players To Watch: Otis White, 21.7 ppg, Willie Patrick 16.3 ppg, JoJo Clermond 9.3 rebounds per game.

Roster:

10 Otis White Sr., G

11 Reggie Randall Sr., G

12 Greg Lee Jr.,F

20 Andres St. Kitts Jr., G

21 Willie Patrick Sr.,F

22 Zach Griggs Jr.,F

24 Kahlil Daley Sr.,F

25 Devon Polite Jr.,G

31 Eric Jones Jr.,F

32 Doug Metcalf So., C

33 Ryan Jennings Jr.,C

35 JoJo Clermond Jr.,C

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