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Lake Gibson finally a champion

The Class 2A boys team wins another game with penalty kicks and claims the school's first state title in any sport.

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002


TAMPA -- Penalty kicks have been good to Lake Gibson this season.

On Saturday, the Braves converted four of them and goalie Dustin Prickett had two saves to down Jupiter 4-3 in a shootout.

The teams played to a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation and four overtimes.

Lake Gibson (24-3-0) also won on penalty kicks against Brandon in the regional quarterfinal and against Jesuit in the regional final.

The victory gives the school not only its first soccer title, but the first state title in any sport in the school's 23-year history, according to principal Ralph Gilchrest.

"I've been coaching for nine years, and I honestly didn't know what it would feel like to finally get here," Braves coach Bon DeLong said. "We never knew that we would have the caliber of players to get to this level, but they have really played together as a team."

Billy Judino scored his 36th goal of the season on a breakaway to give the Braves the early lead, but Jupiter (17-5-2) stormed back with a score from Andrew Helm, his 31st. Lake Gibson went up 2-1 on Luis Castro's goal, but the Warriors answered a minute later with another goal from Helm.

In the second half, Castro gave the Braves their third lead 3-2, but Jorge Manzo countered in the 68th minute. In overtime, Jupiter saw a shot by Christian Cates go off the post.

CLASS 4A BOYS

OLYMPIC HEIGHTS 3, CORAL REEF 0: Olympic Heights put the finishing touches on its unbeaten season Saturday, using a second-half offensive surge to post a victory against Coral Reef.

Olympic Heights, which defeated Gaither and Bloomingdale in the regional playoffs, finished the year 22-0-3 and with a 13-game winning streak.

The Lions opened the scoring with a first-half goal from midfielder Dan Etkie, but were held in check for the rest of the half. Coral Reef's (22-3-2) chances for a comeback diminished in the second half when Olympic Heights' Tommy Sedita put a shot past Barracudas goalkeeper Also Balsano.

Olympic Heights wrapped up its championship when Leo Calle scored on a penalty kick with 17 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the contest.

CLASS 4A GIRLS

LAKE MARY 2, PARKLAND DOUGLAS 0: When Lake Mary lost to Parkland Douglas last month, it figured the teams would meet again. Lake Mary got its revenge Saturday in grand fashion, topping Douglas in the championship game at Pepin/Rood Stadium.

The Rams got goals from midfielder Keilee Rush and defender Jaclyn Wenaas to put to rest thoughts of their 4-2 loss to the Eagles in the regular season.

Lake Mary (27-6-1) caps its season with 11 consecutive wins. Douglas (27-2-2), meanwhile, had its 22-game winning streak snapped. Before Saturday, Douglas hadn't lost since Nov. 4 against Plantation.

CLASS 3A GIRLS

SATELLITE 1, ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 0: Traci Jenkins scored 11 minutes into the game as Satellite upset St. Thomas Aquinas. The Raiders, who entered the final unbeaten, were dominated by Satellite, which enjoyed a 14-3 shooting edge but could only muster one score.

Satellite finishes the year 28-1-2 and St. Thomas Aquinas 26-1-1.

CLASS 2A GIRLS

NEASE 2, GULF BREEZE 1: After Gulf Breeze took an early lead on a goal by Shannon Wing -- her 56th of the season -- it looked like the Dolphins (25-2-2) might cruise to their third consecutive title.

Nease, however, had other plans.

Seven minutes before halftime, the Panthers (27-2-1) equalized on a goal by Jennifer Supko from Jenna Silverberg's assist.

Seven minutes after halftime, Lydia Sturgis got her 45th assist of the season on a cross to Golden Creavy for the game-winner.

The win marks the first soccer title for Nease. It lost 3-2 in double overtime to Sarasota in last year's Class 3A state semifinals.

-- ROD GIPSON, JEREMY RASMUSSEN

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