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Galloway has skill, and nerve as well

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 16, 2003

INVERNESS -- With 51.6 seconds left in a nip-and-tuck battle this season against Leesburg, Citrus guard Jamaal Galloway had the ball in his hands.

He could have held it. Instead, he hoisted it.

Galloway's long-range 3-pointer went in, and the Hurricanes won 67-62. He scored a game-high 32 points, hitting four 3-pointers and going 18 of 20 from the line. His last-minute 3-pointer stopped a 10-2 Leesburg run.

"I was just sitting there thinking, 'This kid has nerves of steel,' " said Lecanto coach Chris Nichols, who was scouting the game. "He has confidence in his shot. And that makes him very, very dangerous."

Galloway's performance against Leesburg was not an isolated incident. The 5-foot-11 junior averaged 22 points and four assists for the Hurricanes, who won Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and district championships, reached the Class 3A region semifinal and finished 26-3.

Galloway drained more than 90 3-pointers. He scored on layups with either hand. He hit running one-handers. He was steady with the ball. And yes, he even played pretty good defense.

Nobody in the area was as consistent or more dangerous.

"When he's on the floor, you have to be aware of where he is at all times or he can kill you," Nichols said. "He's fearless. Absolutely fearless. To be a good player and be a good shooter, you have to be that way."

Some Galloway highlights:

Scored 35 after sinking eight 3-pointers in a win over Crystal River. He had nine in a game as a sophomore.

Hit four 3-pointers and recorded a game-high 25 points in district-clinching victory over Dunnellon.

In first-round playoff win over defending state champion St. Augustine Nease, the Hurricanes' first postseason victory in 42 years, he led the team with 14 points.

In season-ending loss to fourth-ranked Orlando Jones, he scored a game-high 18.

"Sometimes you just get caught watching him and you get in trouble, but just watching him you learn a lot," Citrus point guard R.J. Cobb said. "He's a phenomenal player. Some of the things that he does are just unbelievable."

Galloway is most dangerous beyond the arc. He has been known to shoot from as far as 25 feet. Opposing coaches and players often are surprised by his range. "I feel real comfortable out there," Galloway said.

This season, he was better at driving to the hoop. That added dimension made him more of a complete player.

Citrus coach Jimmy Thomas expects Galloway to play for a Division I program. Because of his height, Galloway likely will be a point guard in college. His ball-handling must improve for that to happen. It looks as if he has everything else.

"He's probably one of the better shooters in the state, and he's gotten quicker and stronger," Thomas said. "He's a threat either way, and he takes the ball up well to the basket."

ALL-CITRUS/HERNANDO BOYS BASKETBALL

COACH OF THE YEAR

PLAYER OF THE YEA

FIRST TEA

JEFF BROWN, HERNANDO: The sophomore guard averaged a county-high 25.3 points, 9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals after joining the Leopards at midseason. His 30 points lifted Hernando to a district quarterfinal victory over Ocala West Port

CHRIS BUNCH, CRYSTAL RIVER: The junior guard/forward, among the area's most athletic players, was a spark on both ends. He averaged 15 points and 2.6 steals as the Pirates improved their win total by 10 games.

JOEL MILLER, CITRUS: The senior forward was the Hurricanes' second-leading scorer and averaged five rebounds. He shot well from the outside, and battled inside against taller players. Some coaches say he was the area's best defender.

ALEX RUOFF, CENTRAL: The sophomore became the 14-14 Bears' go-to player after moving from shooting guard to small forward in his second varsity season. He averaged team highs of 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks.

HONORABLE MENTION

CENTRAL: Kyle Swanston, Jr., C/F; Andy Sedlack, Jr., G. CITRUS: R.J. Cobb, So., G; Greg Covino, Sr., F. CRYSTAL RIVER: Jason Bruns, Jr., G; Chianta Smith, Jr., F. HERNANDO: Joel Hoogewind, Sr., G; Mozell Elder, Jr., F. LECANTO: Scotty Johnson, Sr., F; Drew Zimbro, So., F. SEVEN RIVERS CHRISTIAN: Ryan Ludwick, Sr., G. SPRINGSTEAD: Tadd Hale, Sr., G.

-- Compiled by Keith Niebuhr and Frank Pastor.

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