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February 16, 2003
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Relive the excitement in this look back at the 2002-2003 season. Click here

Bucs
No waiting to test prospects
TAMPA -- Starting Tuesday night at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, members of the Bucs personnel staff will begin the process of interviewing, timing, testing, poking and prodding the top college players eligible for this year's draft.

Rays
Piniella's big challenge is getting things sorted out
There are few sure things heading into camp as Tampa Bay works toward improving.

Gomes waited for his chance
ST. PETERSBURG -- Out of work and looking for a chance to continue his career, Wayne Gomes pulled into the parking lot at the Ray Naimoli Complex at 5:30 a.m. on Friday and waited.

Lightning
photo
[AP photo]
Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle, right, celebrates with teammate Vinny Prospal after scoring one of his two goals in the third period.
Tampa Bay sends a message
LIGHTNING 5, BRUINS 2: Dan Boyle scores twice and Nikolai Khabibulin bounces back.

John Romano
Martin thinks he's a success, even without title
DAYTONA BEACH -- It is not too much we ask of Mark Martin.

Hubert Mizell
ESPN needs less entertainment, more conscience
ESPN is the best thing that ever happened to American sports. Maybe also the worst.

College basketball
Volunteers smoke out the lackluster Gators

TENNESSEE 66, FLORIDA 59: Using a defense called "Smokey," the Vols win 6th straight.

USF avenges defeat 62-47
The win over Houston helps erase an earlier bitter loss to the Cougars.

FSU survives 2nd-half falloff
After taking a 15-point lead in the first half, the Seminoles need a defensive stand late to beat Georgia Tech 71-64.

Wisconsin keeps IU reeling
MADISON, Wis. -- Kirk Penney scored 22 to lead Wisconsin over struggling Indiana 71-59 Saturday.

Seton Hall's aspirations lead to upset of No. 7 Pitt
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Instead of worrying about making the Big East tournament, Seton Hall is thinking about going to the NCAA Tournament after winning five in a row.

No. 4 LSU needs 3 OTs for victory
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Sue Gunter saw a lot more of UC Santa-Barbara than she wanted.

Salukis watch
PEORIA, Ill. -- James Gillingham had 20 points and Phillip Gilbert added 17, including seven in overtime, as Bradley beat Southern Illinois on Saturday.

Motorsports
Is it a tall tale or truth?

Sterling Marlin's escapades on the track sound like one of his stories. But they're not.

Top teams bury the hatchet
DAYTONA BEACH -- Everything is lovey-dovey again between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the drivers at Richard Childress Racing.

Junior is 3-for-3 at SpeedWeeks
DAYTONA BEACH -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. is making it look easy.

NFL
QB Couch's career as Brown may end soon

The Browns are exploring their options at quarterback, which could mean Tim Couch has played his last game for Cleveland.

Briefs
Rant...

Why not let agents pay schools that turn in players

Trust N Luck moves to Derby contender
HALLANDALE BEACH -- Trust N Luck is more than a local star now -- the colt is a Kentucky Derby contender.

Running
Warm weather a curse? Yes, at marathon today

CLEARWATER -- Want an expert weather opinion? Forget the television meteorologists.

Baseball
Jeter turns tables on New York media

ST. PETERSBURG -- Derek Jeter would seem to have enough trouble defending himself against odd accusations about his nighttime activities from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Reds let troubled Nash go
SARASOTA -- The Reds voided their minor-league contract with outfielder Greg "Toe" Nash on Saturday, ending his attempt to get back into baseball after serving prison time.

NHL
Slapshots

Welcome mat

Hoglund's last-minute goal lifts Leafs
TORONTO -- Jonas Hoglund became the latest Maple Leafs player to score a big goal.He put Toronto ahead with 44 seconds remaining to beat the first-place Senators 2-1 on Saturday night.

Sailing
Alinghi grabs 2-0 lead

The Swiss boat rallies on the final downwind leg to beat New Zealand.

NBA
Bulls snap losing skid, nip Nuggets

CHICAGO -- Jalen Rose scored 27 and Tyson Chandler had a career-high 22 rebounds and 19 points as the Bulls beat the Denver Nuggets 88-69 on Saturday night.

Golf
Time to stop talking, start playing

Gary Koch's 50th birthday present is a chance to play the Champions Tour instead of watching from a TV booth.

Barr's hot streak continues with 65 and the lead
NAPLES -- Dave Barr birdied the final four holes for his first Champions Tour victory Feb. 9 at the Royal Caribbean Classic at Key Biscayne.

Overton has a shot at exemption
Palm Harbor player trails Dave Barr by 1 at Ace Group Classic.

Woods, Mickelson will find out who's 'inferior'
SAN DIEGO -- A script that seems to be out of Hollywood came together in a span of 20 minutes Saturday afternoon at the Buick Invitational, when two players made birdie putts from the same line on the 18th green.

Preps
Tornadoes capitalize on Devils' cold touch

CLEARWATER -- If you are still wondering if former St. Petersburg coach Jack Coit left a better team behind when he took over at Clearwater last year, don't.

Pinellas Park runs away with crown
CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 5: The Patriots grab their third straight wrestling championship.

Robinson overwhelms young Freedom
CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 9: The Knights shake off a sluggish start and cruise to the district title.

Recount awards title to Gators
SPRING HILL -- The "What's Florida with a recount?" jokes will not be very funny at Ridgewood High.

Rams win fifth straight crown
CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 8: Ridgewood's press helps the Rams hold off Land O'Lakes for a 52-40 win.

Pride wounded, Wildcats whip Rams
WESLEY CHAPEL -- Don't make the Wildcats angry. You wouldn't like them when they're angry.

Timely 3-pointer gives Warhawks the title
CLASS 5A, DISTRICT 10: Alli Fogle connects with 10 seconds left as Seminole rallies for a 49-46 victory over Boca Ciega.

Wildcats' shooting woes help Lions win
CLASS 5A, DISTRICT 8: Defense key to King's 47-40 victory over Wharton and district title.

Okpaleke lifts TBT past Armwood
CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 9: The Titans junior scores 24 points in a 59-43 victory against the Hawks.

Shorecrest can't keep Panthers from title
CLASS A, DISTRICT 11: Bradenton Christian grabs its eight crown in nine years with an 84-59 pasting of the Chargers.

Lakewood puts up little fight against Southeast
DUNEDIN -- Bradenton Southeast dominated every aspect of the game with a 62-32 thrashing of Lakewood in the Class 4A, District 11 championship.

Cougars, Eagles set standard
CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 9: Countryside defeats East Lake for another district title, but both teams send 14 to region tournament.

Leesburg's D defends
CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 7: Yellowjackets quiet critics, beat Central 57-46 for consecutive district titles.

Eagles put away Gryphons late
TAMPA -- Considering the force and success of Brandon this season, Sickles gave it a challenge before yielding. Entering the finals of the Class 2A, District 7 meet, Brandon led the Gryphons by only 37 points.

Hornets beat Cougars for another title
CLASS 5A, DISTRICT 7: Haines City rallies to win its second crown in a row.

Dominant Tornadoes blow past Patriots
CLASS 5A, DISTRICT 9: Clearwater secures ninth title in 10 years with 65-30 win over Pinellas Park.

Outdoors
Daily fishing report

With weather too unpredictable offshore, bottom fishing the bay has been productive.

Surf dreams lead to a must read
Growing up on the beaches of Pinellas County, Chris Towery used to dream of the day he would take off and surf exotic lands.

Letters: Your turn:
Make a move Lightning

Ever since I moved back to Tampa Bay, I have been a season ticket holder for the Lightning. I have been frustrated at times, and excited at times. For years, it did not matter what the Bolts record was because we knew they would be playing golf come April.

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