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Preps

Eagles come alive late

CLASS A, DISTRICT 1O: Oldsmar Christian survives a slowed-down first half to win the championship.

By ROB BRANNON

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003


TAMPA -- They are two teams with opposite philosophies. Oldsmar Christian relies on speed and size while Tampa Baptist, lacking both, gets by on solid shooting and strong ball-handling.

When those ideologies went head-to-head, the physically superior team came out on top. Oldsmar Christian defeated Tampa Baptist 46-36 after receiving a solid scare. The Eagles' size was the difference, as big men Trevor Ferguson and Ryan Pannone combined for 22 points, many off the offensive glass.

While Oldsmar Christian ended up with a comfortable victory, the first half was anything but, thanks to a solid game plan from Tampa Baptist coach Ed Torres. The Rams put the brakes on the Eagles potent fast break by substantially slowing the game down. First-half Ram possessions routinely lasted for almost a minute. And lights-out shooting, including four 3-pointers, helped Tampa Baptist fight through eight ties and take a two-point lead into the locker room.

"We were expecting a tough game and we got one," Oldsmar Christian coach Gary Tait said. "They were working (the ball) to get a good shot."

But after the intermission, Oldsmar Christian took command, launching into a 9-0 run and gaining a lead it would never relinquish.

Two Eagles scored in double figures. Ferguson registered a game-high 14 points, and guard Larry Bache added 11.

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