By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 3, 2003
TAMPA -- As one of the county's top teams and the defending champion of the A.P. Leto Holiday Classic, Durant's outlook for this year's tournament was looking pretty good.
In the first half of Thursday's first round, though, Robinson threatened to tear down everything the Cougars thought of themselves.
"We just beat Clearwater and Ridgewood, who were both undefeated when we played them," Durant senior R.L. Bond said. "And then we were losing to Robinson? It just doesn't make any sense."
Granted, Robinson upset the Cougars earlier this season. But the Cougars (6-4) returned to their strong form by the third quarter, wiped out Robinson's lead and eventually won 62-54.
Durant coach Gary Jordan called the first half deja vu as the Knights led 21-12, proving their first win against Durant was not a fluke. The Cougars came out flat and none of their offensive or defensive schemes were developing right.
Even Bond, who leads the county in rebounding, could only muster three rebounds in the first half.
"I'm like the rebound captain on this team," Bond said. "I kept telling everyone to box out, but I wasn't even boxing out in the first half."
It was Bond that led Durant's rally that chipped away at Robinson's 37-30 halftime lead. He made a layup, a free throw and a putback to tie the game at 47 in the fourth, and took control of the boards.
Bond finished with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kerry Guy added 18.
Robinson was led by Antwon Royal's 15 and Mark King's 14.
In other first-round games, Leto's Chris Woolridge scored 40 points to lead his team to a 70-48 victory over Palmetto.
Wharton defeated Jefferson 54-48 in overtime, taking advantage of the Dragons' many fouls. Wharton's Brandon Anderson led with 23 and had the Wildcats' only eight points in the third. In the final game, Largo defeated Sickles 78-38.
Robinson and Lakewood had the only close game of the first round as the Knights edged the Spartans 55-48.
The Knights outscored the Spartans 22-9 in the decisive fourth quarter and three Robinson players (Johnessa Griffin, Jameshia Harris and Yolanda Patterson) scored in double digits.
Gaither defeated East Lake 55-10 as Whitney Harper and Elaine Evans combined for 26.
Largo beat Brandon 59-24 and Leto defeated Tampa Catholic 63-18.