By SCOTT PURKS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 27, 2002
TAMPA -- Less than 24 hours after losing a district game in overtime, Gaither played Saturday night like a team running out of gas.
On the other hand, Chamberlain, which won resoundingly Friday night, looked like a squad on the rise -- particularly during its 31-point fourth quarter. So the final score -- Chamberlain 70, Gaither 50 -- fit the circumstances to a tee during Saturday's Times North of Tampa Festival at Wharton. "Tonight, as always, Chamberlain was very disciplined and poised and aggressive," Gaither coach Dwayne Olinger said. "Unfortunately we showed up like we were playing during P.E. class, just throwing the ball around and throwing shots up."
The Cowboys (16-5) did fight back from a 10-point deficit to cut it to 35-34 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, but Gaither never took the lead, and within minutes found itself down 51-38.
"It did happen sort of quick," Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin said. "We started hitting some shots and making some steals and the next thing we knew we had this big lead.
"I was very happy with the way we played tonight. We always like to run and fastbreak and convert off steals, but tonight we also set up our offense real well and we were patient.
"We had a rough couple of weeks where we didn't play too well, but the past few games we've got it going pretty good."
The Chiefs improved to 18-8 for the season, including 3-0 against a Gaither squad that has lost only two other games.
Chamberlain's Otis White led all scorers with 25 points, and Greg Lee and Willie Patrick added 19 apiece. Antonio Russell led the Cowboys with 24 and Brandon Harrison, who won the Festival's 3-point shooting contest between games, added 16.
Olinger said he didn't want to make excuses, but did add that his team took the 62-61 loss to district foe Sarasota Riverview pretty hard the night before.
"It's been a rough couple of days," he said. "So we're looking forward to practice on Monday. We're going to get in there and keep our perspective and get to work."