© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2003
BROOKSVILLE -- Ridgewood has played enough teams capable of erasing double-digit deficits this season that the Rams weren't about to get complacent against Citrus.
Not even with a 14-point advantage.
The Rams (14-1) jumped out to an 18-4, first-quarter lead, then held off a 'Canes comeback attempt for a 63-48 win Saturday in a battle of once-beatens in the marquee game of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference-Sunshine Athletic Conference Shootout at Central.
Down 20-6 in the second quarter, Citrus mounted a 10-0 run to narrow the gap to 20-16 on a Jamaal Galloway basket with 3:50 left. The 'Canes (11-2) twice got as close as four in the third before Ridgewood pulled away.
"It's not a district or conference game, but it's huge because it shows everybody that we can play with teams outside our conference," Ridgewood senior guard Chris Halkitis said.
Halkitis scored a game-high 17 points, bringing his career total to 1,003. His two free throws with 3:10 remaining made him only the fifth 1,000-point scorer in Ridgewood history.
"That's an accomplishment," Ridgewood coach Gary Anders said.
Gulf and Mitchell also won, giving the SAC a three-game sweep in the second and possibly last year for the event, which was trimmed from six games to three because of scheduling conflicts.
"This will be the end of it, because there's not enough team interest," Central coach and event organizer John Sedlack said.
GULF 56, HERNANDO 53: The Bucs (9-7) burst to a 14-0 lead, then held off a furious comeback attempt by the Leopards (3-11), who closed to 53-52 on Mozell Elder's 3-point play with 14 seconds remaining. Hernando's Joel Hoogewind missed a potential tying 3-point shot at the buzzer.
MITCHELL 61, CENTRAL 53: Jason Weaver scored 19 points for the Mustangs (6-6), who led 23-10 after the first quarter.