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Showdown set for Lions, Chiefs

CLASS 5A, DISTRICT 8: Chamberlain defeats Hillsborough in a wild game, while King gets past Wharton.

By SCOTT PURKS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2003

TAMPA -- One game semifinal was slow and methodical with leads never too far out of hand, the other was a frenzied seesawing battle right to the end.

When Friday's games were finished, King had beaten Wharton 45-36 and Chamberlain had taken out Hillsborough 78-74. Tonight the Lions (20-8) and Chiefs (22-4) meet in the final at 7:30 inside Alonso's gym, and who knows what kind of game will be featured?

No doubt something less frantic, and less taxing on the coaches, than the Chiefs and Terriers affair.

"Oh my God, we sure know how to make it interesting, don't we?" Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin said. "That's been us all year, we get up and then we let them back into it."

When the fourth quarter began, Chamberlain held a 58-43 lead and appeared in control ... until Hillsborough's athletic bunch decided to kick it into high gear.

Within three minutes, the Terriers cut the gap to 58-53 and never trailed by more than nine the rest of the way.

"A few shots or a few calls here and there and we come back and win this," said Hillsborough coach Kevin Howard, whose team outscored the Chiefs 31-20 in the fourth. "Just a few more breaks."

Aplin said, "I was afraid of (Hillsborough), they have so much firepower. I'm just glad we got out of here with a victory. These kids have played so well all year and they deserve to go on in the playoffs."

Chamberlain's Greg Lee led all scorers, from all over the court, with 32 points. Hillsborough's Tyrone Evans was right behind with 27.

In the first semifinal, King trailed 10-2 after four minutes before turning up its defensive pressure. The game stayed tight until midway through the fourth quarter when King went on an 8-0 run to lead 41-32.

Ramon Brown led the Lions with 18 points and nine rebounds and teammate Irving Athis chipped in 10 rebounds.

Wharton finished its season 18-8.

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