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Packers knock off top-ranked team


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2003

DUNEDIN -- The late Frank Griffin, the head coach of Dunedin's 1966 state championship team, taught pride in the community and had an appetite for competition. So it was fitting that on the day the Frank Griffin Athletic Center was dedicated, some of Pinellas County's best teams did the county proud against quality opponents.

Palm Harbor University handed Jesuit its first loss of the season 67-60, Clearwater routed Melbourne 84-54 and Boca Ciega edged Gaither 75-63. But the highlight of the Dunedin Shootout was Largo's 70-59 win over Class 5A No. 1 Fort Meyers.

"I said to my guys, 'You guys are athletes, this is where you want to be,"' Largo coach Phillip Price said. "Competition."

Largo jumped out to a 23-18 first-quarter lead and never trailed. Mike O'Donnell led the Packers with 18 points, Trevor Bing scored 17 and Quinton Gunter 15 in Largo's statement win.

"I think we're better when we're tired," Price said one day after a tough win against Countryside. "But this is the best place to go out there, have fun, just play and make statement wins."

Palm Harbor, led by Garrett Tyler's 27 points, also made a statement in its first win over Jesuit. "This was more of a turnaround game for us," Tyler said. "We came together and played for four quarters."

The Hurricanes led the entire game despite Jesuit cutting the lead to four midway through the fourth. Clearwater (16-1) allowed four points in the opening quarter against a Melbourne team that had won eight straight. Jacob Loucks and Luke Postorino had 25 and 17 points. Boca Ciega and Gaither were tied 36-36 at halftime, but the Pirates outran a smaller Gaither lineup in the second half. Marquel Brooks scored 19 despite sitting out much of the first half with foul trouble.

Host Dunedin and Seminole did not fair as well as their counterparts.

Seminole's Devon Collins hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including a shot that forced overtime, but the Warhawks were outscored 19-9 in the extra period in a 78-68 loss.

Dunedin fell behind early and trailed by 13 at halftime against Ridgewood. The Falcons came back to outscore the Rams in the fourth, but it wasn't enough to rally. "Despite the loss, Dunedin comes out winners today," Falcons coach Kevin Hendrick said. "The Shootout reflected well on the school and the city."

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