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Lakewood eases to title

CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 11: The Spartans have little trouble dispatching Bradenton Bayshore.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003

BRADENTON -- Winning the district title on Saturday probably wasn't as thrilling as hoisting the state championship trophy last year, but the Lakewood Spartans were still all smiles after their 63-40 win over Bradenton Bayshore.

"You've got to take care of the preliminary stuff first before you can move on," Spartan coach Dan Wright said.

And take care of the preliminary business the Spartans certainly did.

Center Brian Ligon knocked in a 3-foot shot six seconds into the game to give the Spartans an early lead and the rout was on. Lakewood led by as much as 25 points during the first half. Ligon led all scorers with 14 points in limited playing time.

The Bruins had a difficult time establishing any offensive flow after lanky center Paul Lubin was tagged with two early fouls. Lubin could only sit and watch as the Spartans trapped the Bruin guards mercilessly, forcing 19 first-half turnovers.

Lakewood's press also held Bradenton Bayshore scoreless over a four-minute period in the second quarter.

"Each time we've played them they've had problems handling the press," Wright said. "Still, there were a few things that occurred on our end that prevented us from increasing the lead."

The Spartans had a difficult time converting on free throws, going 13-for-28 at the line.

The only other blemish on the evening was when Spartan center Theodoric Watson ripped off his jersey and walked off court after being substituted late in the fourth quarter.

Wright would not elaborate on the situation.

"You know how kids are," Wright said. "Kids always think they should be playing more. Hopefully he will have the opportunity to pout and then reality kicks in."

Lakewood will host the loser of the District 12 championship game on Thursday night at 7:30.

"That was a goal of ours, to host the first round of the regionals," Wright said.

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