© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2003
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Tonight, Ridgewood coach Gary Anders will seek his 400th career victory against an old nemesis: Gulf.
It will be a 7:30 meeting between top seed Ridgewood and No. 4 Gulf, a 57-56 winner over No. 5 Hudson in Tuesday's district quarterfinals.
That was the day's best game, as No. 3 Mitchell followed with a 65-55 win over No. 6 Tarpon Springs and No. 2 Land O'Lakes ended No. 7 River Ridge's season 76-45. Land O'Lakes will meet Mitchell in tonight's first semifinal at 6.
Gulf (14-12) barely escaped Hudson (11-14) thanks to 28 points and five 3-pointers by Joe Phillips and a controversial last-second call that put the Bucs at the free-throw line to break a 56-56 tie. Maurice Maisonet's 24 points led the Cobras.
Mitchell (18-8) had four players hit double figures: Kyle Cregan scored 16, Jason Weaver 15, Mitch Foster 14 and Jeremy Hopper 12.
Land O'Lakes (14-10) was led by Drew Weatherford's 16 points against River Ridge (2-24). Logan Payne had 16 and Jonathan Wolaver 12. Host River Ridge's Chris Roadt scored 12 off four treys and Jahmaal Osbourne and Kyle DiMartino scored 10.
ZEPHYRHILLS -- Bartow used a defense Zephyrhills could not handle and held the Bulldogs to eight field goals as the Yellow Jackets ran away with a 74-30 win Tuesday night.
Bartow coach Terrence McGriff called it a man-to-man, jump-and-run defense and the Yellow Jackets (6-20) used it to perfection against Zephyrhills (2-23). The Bulldogs scored two field goals in the second half and didn't make their first shot of the half until seven seconds were left in the third quarter.
"We've been preaching to our guys to wait until districts," McGriff said. "Our record during the regular season doesn't mean anything. We're 1-0 now."
Bartow's reward is a Friday night game against top seed Wesley Chapel (26-2). The Wildcats beat Bartow twice this season by a combined 67 points.
"If we play like we did tonight, we have a chance," McGriff said.
Kent Dokendorf led the Bulldogs with 11.
-- DAVE WALTERS
LEESBURG -- Neighbors Central and Springstead traveled all the way to Leesburg on Tuesday for the district tournament's opening round. It turned out to be a worthwhile trip for the fourth-seeded Bears, who dumped No. 5 Springstead 67-44.
Guard Alex Ruoff got Central (14-13) off to a good start by scoring all nine of his points, and the first nine of the game, with 6:01 left in the first quarter. But the Eagles (2-19) played Central evenly the rest of the half and went into the locker room down 33-24.
Springstead was strong on defense early in the second half but never was able to capitalize on open shots and defensive miscues by the Bears, who iced the game with a big run in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Maurice Milton had a game-high 20 points for the Eagles. Tadd Hale added 11. Central had three players in double figures: Brian Oakes (15), Kyle Swanston (11) and Jeremy Gambrel (10).
Central moves on to face Leesburg (16-12 overall, 7-1 district) in tonight's semifinal.
-- BOB BARTBURGER