St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com
Back
Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times

Preps

Mirror image unpleasant

CLASS 3A: Miami Monsignor Pace executes Wesley Chapel's hectic style of basketball better than the Wildcats in a 69-48 victory.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 13, 2003


LAKELAND -- In two seasons, 52 victories, 12 losses, two district titles, two region crowns and two state semifinal appearances, Wesley Chapel has faced nearly every kind of team one can imagine.

Bigger teams. Taller teams. More athletic teams. More physical teams. Higher-ranked teams. Better teams.

But Wednesday, the Wildcats faced a foe unlike any other: Themselves.

Sixth-ranked Wesley Chapel (27-4) fell 69-48 in its second trip to the Class 3A semifinals at the Lakeland Center, losing to fifth-ranked Miami Monsignor Pace (29-5), which played Wildcats basketball better than they can.

"I can't explain it," senior Greg Harrison said. "We worked so hard to get back to Lakeland. We finally got back and we couldn't make it to the state championship."

Sure, the Spartans were bigger, lining up at 6 feet, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5. Sure, they were more athletic. But they were faster, too. They played at a frenetic pace that was a step, maybe two, ahead of Wesley Chapel the whole night. They pressed. They passed. They ran the floor. They buried 3-point shots. They chased after loose balls and crashed the boards.

All the things Wesley Chapel prided itself on, Monsignor Pace did better. It was as if the Spartans had three or four extra players on the court. The Spartans flew to the basket, again and again and again, taking a double-digit, 14-3 lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter and sprinting for the finish, a 36-18 halftime lead.

Wesley Chapel coach Kent Mills compared this game to a December loss to No. 4 Orlando Jones, which won the early semifinal 59-57 over Panama City Bay.

"Orlando Jones presses for 32 minutes too but we handled that better then than we did now," Mills said. "Jones was a great team and we shot it well against Jones. Presses usually don't bother us.

"But they say you can't win a basketball game in the first quarter, but you can lose it and we certainly put ourselves in a position to lose it again, just like (St. Augustine) Nease (in last season's semifinals)."

The Spartans' relentless defense harassed the Wildcats under the basket and along the perimeter, holding them to 16 of 62 shooting from the field and 6 of 27 from 3-point range. Wesley Chapel didn't get a field goal until 41 seconds were left in the first on Chase Bussey's 3-pointer.

"Other than Jones that was the fastest team we've faced," senior forward Harrison said. "This is the first time that a team ran at us, usually we're the ones that run at them."

Compounding those first-half problems was the fact that Harrison and Tyrone Tomlin spent considerable minutes on the bench in foul trouble. That allowed Monsignor Pace to collapse on center David Simpson inside, holding the Wildcats' leading scorer to 0-for-7 from the field and one point.

The second half was the same, more NASCAR than basketball.

For the first time in 67 games, no Wildcat was in double figures. Zach Mills' eight points led the team while the Spartans' Josue Vasquez scored 18 and Alex Smith had 12.

"I'm just trying to hold it together right now," said Mills, who resigned as coach earlier this season and will move to Indiana on Sunday. "I look at all of these guys and they're a part of my family."

Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
 

From the Times sports desk

College basketball
  • Kohn's fingertips win nail-biter
  • Parity makes tourney interesting
  • So. Miss shocks Cincy
  • 2 UGA players try suing school
  • Gators not planning to rest just yet

  • NFL
  • Jets QB glad for Coles, sad for likely loss

  • Baseball
  • Wells held back in book
  • White Sox's refusal 'misunderstanding'

  • NHL
  • Wild solves Stars' Tugnutt

  • NBA
  • Malone's mark makes Magic miserable

  • Motorsports
  • 'Sarge' Schumacher takes role seriously
  • Roush finds answers to engine woes

  • Golf
  • Nicklaus and Palmer set to play at Bay Hill
  • What's so wrong with starting earlier?
  • All eyes will be on LPGA's Sorenstam

  • In brief
  • Teammates say they saw Wheeler use supplements

  • Horses
  • Top races at Downs may lose star steeds

  • Preps
  • Tiger's top speed unknown
  • Softball extra
  • Farragut gives one away
  • Takeover very nearly pulled off
  • East Lake drops first at red-hot Dunedin
  • Shooting touch is AWOL
  • Mirror image unpleasant

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Rays
  • Grieve uncertain about road he will take
  • Release rattles Reichert

  • Bucs
  • A new team and a baby for Jackson
  • Gary Shelton: For Bucs, is it banking on the future or bust?

  • Lightning
  • A qualified victory
  • Injured Taylor proud of perseverance


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts