On the heels of setting one Leto Tournament offensive record and tying another, the Patriots hit just six field goals in a 60-26 loss.
By EMILY NIPPS
Published January 3, 2004
TAMPA - Two days after breaking the Leto Holiday Classic record for points in a game, Pinellas Park came out against North Laurel (Ky.) looking like it forgot how to score.
The Patriots stunned their coach and delighted the Jaguars by withering under North Laurel's press and missing shots they could normally make with their eyes closed. The Jaguars (11-1) took full advantage, never letting up on their pressure defense and slick ball-handling until they defeated the Patriots 60-26.
This came after Pinellas Park (3-6) walked out of the host's gym on Wednesday having defeated Leto 84-48, breaking the 4-year-old tournament record for team points by one and tying the mark for 3-pointers in a game with 10.
On Friday the Patriots watched what didn't get stolen or rebounded away go skimming off of the backboard or bouncing off of the rim. It looked like a major mismatch against the unranked Kentucky team, but Pinellas Park coach Rick Nickerson said it was mainly a poor performance by the Patriots.
"These kids are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," he said. "Hopefully, this was a wake-up call."
The Patriots did well from the free throw line, making 12 of 16 attempts. It couldn't make up for the lack of field goals, though - they had two by halftime (and trailed 38-13) and six total.
"When you turn the ball over and you can't make jump shots and you can't layup, you can't win against anybody," Nickerson said.
Against North Laurel's strong outside shooting and aggressive defense, the Patriots couldn't even come close.
"We always play a pressure defense," North Laurel coach Ken Woods said. "That, and being able to turn the ball over and make easy baskets really helped us, I think."
The officials turned on a running clock in the third quarter and let the fourth quarter run out quickly.
The Jaguars face St. Petersburg Catholic in tonight's tournament championship at 8 p.m.
The Barons overcame a 12-point deficit in the third quarter with a 25-point performance in the fourth to beat Sickles 52-50.
Sophomore wingman Aaron Holmes led the Barons with 19 points and Travis Karto scored 15, including three 3-pointers. Sickles was led by Cameron Colvin's 21 points.