By WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2002
WESLEY CHAPEL -- Wesley Chapel coach Kent Mills placed St. Petersburg Catholic on the schedule with the upcoming Class 3A, District 10 tournament in mind. And the Wildcats showed their coach they're ready for the postseason by beating the visiting Barons 75-61 on Saturday.
Wesley Chapel (19-7) used a 21-2 run in the first and second quarters to open up a 13-point lead. The Wildcats then put the Class 2A Barons away with a 13-2 run to start the second half.
Wesley Chapel led 54-29 with 5 minutes, 13 seconds to play in the third quarter. The Barons would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
"We were looking at this as a district game," Mills said. "This is like we're playing in the district semifinals. We've got the No. 8 team in the state so let's get after them."
Wesley Chapel had five players score in double figures led by Eric Sorensen's 16 points. Sorensen scored five of his points after the Barons were called for three technical fouls in the fourth quarter.
St. Petersburg Catholic's Joey Turner confronted Wildcats player Sandor Riholm with three minutes to play in the game. By the time Turner was pulled from Riholm, he had picked up a personal foul and two technical fouls.
St. Petersburg Catholic coach Mike Moran was subsequently given a technical foul after he talked with the officials. When the dust cleared, the Wildcats hit six of eight from the line to open up a 69-51 lead. The Barons had whittled the deficit to 12 points before the technical fouls.
"I didn't really see what originally happened," Moran said. "It's hard for me to comment. I'll tell you one thing, that ended the game."
Wesley Chapel also got 14 points each from Zach Mills and Travis Lemasters. The guards combined to hit eight 3-pointers. They also handed out 10 assists and collected seven steals.
The Wildcats' inside punch came from David Simpson and Marcus Stewart, who each scored 12 points. Simpson also had 11 rebounds and three assists.
St. Petersburg Catholic (17-7) struggled from outside, hitting five of 26 3-pointers. Dave Lopez had a game-high 22 points and five assists for the Barons.