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Preps

Wasn't like the old days

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 2003


CLEARWATER -- In his days as a Clearwater junior varsity coach and varsity assistant, Rick Nickerson didn't have too many nights in Jack Wilson Gymnasium like he did Tuesday.

The Pinellas Park head coach prowled the other sideline for the first time Tuesday. His old scorekeepers weren't paying much attention to his team. Before the game even started, there he was, talking to his team ... from the girls locker room.

Oh, and his team lost 49-26, a rarity for Nickerson back when he coached the current crop of Clearwater starters to an unbeaten JV mark.

"It was really strange," said Nickerson, Clearwater's MVP as a player in 1984-85 and '85-86 before coaching.

The Patriots (3-6), playing without suspended leading scorer Antez Bradley, made just two field goals in the second half.

Clearwater (11-1) outscored Pinellas Park 15-3 in the third quarter as Josh Postorino and Jacob Loucks scored six apiece. Postorino finished with a game-high 12 points and Loucks and Nick Miller added 11 for Clearwater.

-- JOHN C. COTEY

PHU finally beats Largo

LARGO -- As the long list of first-evers dwindle down since Palm Harbor U. opened in 1996, Ryan Cowans made sure his name was next to one of them.

Cowans scored a team high 20 points, including a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the second overtime of the Hurricanes' 86-84 win over Largo (9-4), coach Mike Walters' first varsity victory over the Packers.

Mike O'Donnell led the Packers with 32 points, but came up just short on his last-second attempt at edging Palm Harbor (6-5). O'Donnell (7 assists, 5 steals) also came inches from winning the game as the clock expired at the end of the first overtime.

"We made him (O'Donnell) work hard for his points," Walters said. "We knew he was an offensive threat."

Palm Harbor held a 58-48 lead entering the fourth quarter, but the teams swapped the lead seven times in the final four minutes.

With twenty seconds left in the second overtime and the Hurricanes down 82-80, Cowans grabbed his only steal of the game, drove the length of the floor for a layup and scored while being fouled. Cowans converted the three-point play, putting Palm Harbor up 83-82.

O'Donnell then made two free throws, putting Largo back up 84-83, but with five seconds left, Cowans hit his fifth 3-pointer for the win.

Garret Tyler scored 16 points and Nick Francis 13 for Palm Harbor. Trevor Bing had 17 and Julias Oie 11 points for Largo.

-- ERIC MUSKATEVC

Bogie routs Green Devils

ST. PETERSBURG -- Neither a height disadvantage nor homecourt advantage caused Boca Ciega much trouble. The Pirates beat St. Petersburg 85-62 in a district game in front of a packed gym.

The Green Devils (8-3, 4-1) never got into a rhythm, allowing Bogie (8-4, 4-0) to dominate with smaller players in the paint and sharp shooters behind the arch.

"I think we got complacent," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. "As the game got going, we got wrapped up into what Bogie was doing."

The Pirates were 10-of-25 from the 3-point line. Brian Reeves led the team with 21 points, making five of nine from behind the line after finding his spot in the corner in the second half.

"Offensively, I think we played about as well as we could," Bogie coach Randy Shuman said. "We have four legitimate 3-point shooters. Our biggest problem is not being patient enough to find them."

Bogie also held the Green Devils' post players to just 10 points.

-- LAURA LEE

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