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Lions ignite, beat Hawks

ANTHONY GAGLIANO
Published January 7, 2004

SEFFNER - King more than doubled its first half total with 19 points in the third quarter to pull away from Armwood in a 53-46 victory Tuesday.

In the first half, neither team could do much. The Lions took the largest lead when Kelsey Coffee hit a free throw to convert a 3-point play with 3:09 left in the second quarter. The host Hawks (6-7) responded with a 5-0 run to retake the lead.

A 22-11 advantage on the glass helped the home team to a tie at 18 at halftime despite 16 turnovers to that point.

"We tried to take our time with the basketball and make good choices," King coach Sam Lanier said of his team's second-half changes.

It started with the first Lions possession as Jon Fox's 3-pointer opened the half. Justin Allen followed with a 3-pointer after another Hawk turnover. Two Musa Abdul-Aleem threes propelled King (9-2) to its largest lead at 35-23 with 1:53 to go in the third. Abdul-Aleem hit five 3-pointers for a game-high 19 points.

"They have to cover him, so then we try to throw it inside to Kelsey Coffee (seven points) or Irving Athis (four)," Lanier said. "I think tonight we had a good mix."

The Hawks climbed out of a hole in the fourth as they seized on a couple of turnovers. Ryan Sollazzo sandwiched baskets between Brandon Beverly's layup off a steal as Armwood closed to 42-37. The Hawks were as close as three, but missed three chances on offense, then Abdul-Aleem's final 3-pointer pushed the gap back to six at 47-41.

"We tried to spend a lot of time on our man-to-man defense over the last week," Lanier said. "We always say that if they're throwing the ball away, we're playing really good defense. That happened, so I was real pleased with the way it turned out."

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