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Larson jumper lifts Baptist

CLASS A, DISTRICT 10: The Rams advance on a 10-footer with 11 seconds left in the game.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2003

TAMPA -- The best shooter on a team of solid shooters, Ryan Larson didn't disappoint when it counted most. Larson scored 22 points, including two on a 10-foot jumper with 11 seconds left that capped Tampa Baptist's comeback in a 48-46 win against Indian Rocks Christian.

But the frantic final minute that saw the lead in each team's hands still held drama with less than a second on the clock. When IRC's Dusty Morgan missed two free throws with the clock reading 0.5, Tampa Baptist (17-9) could finally celebrate.

Tampa Baptist controlled the first half and led by three, but a 15-4 run by the Golden Eagles to open the second half put them ahead 38-30 and seemingly in control of the game.

But a hot-shooting Larson and a sudden dry spell on offense by IRC would put the Rams right back in control. Larson scored 12 points in the final period as Tampa Baptist climbed back into the game. A Larson jumper midway through the fourth gave the Rams the lead back for the first time since early in the third period, but IRC's Dan Hedger's rebound and layup two minute later would give the Golden Eagles back the advantage, setting up the game's final heroics.

Casey Craft added 11 points fro Tampa Baptist while IRC was led by Gabe McMillen (12 points) and Hedger and Morgan who scored 10 each.

In the opening game, Oldsmar Christian's Trevor Ferguson broke a 42-42 tie with a late jumper and the Eagles kept Bayshore Christian scoreless the last two minutes of the game. Oldsmar Christian (22-5) was led by Ferguson's 28 points. Phillip Brooks led Bayshore with 17 points.

Oldsmar will face Tampa Baptist for the championship tonight at 7:30 at the Cambridge School.

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