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Gladiators, Devils to play another day

Published February 19, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - In a game in which neither team ever had a lead greater than four, it was going to be the little things that decided the winner.

Things like defensive pressure. A steal. A rebound on a missed free throw.

Or, in Gibbs case, all of the above.

With no consist offense, Gibbs won Wednesday's Class 5A, District 10 semifinal with defense, beating Seminole 58-54 to advance to Saturday's title game.

The Gladiators will meet St. Petersburg, a 75-63 winner over Boca Ciega in the other semifinal. Both clinched a spot in the region playoffs, the first for Gibbs (18-7) since 1994.

It can thank guards Naason Borden and Marque Roberson, who came up with the two biggest plays of the night within 15 seconds.

With the score tied at 54, Borden jumped in front of a poor crosscourt pass and drove in for the lead with 45 seconds left.

Seminole (15-11) inbounded the ball, and at halfcourt Roberson took the ball away from point guard David Crouch and was fouled as he drove for a layup. Roberson made one free throw, but his miss was rebounded by Walter Brady, who added a free throw with 20 seconds remaining that sealed it.

Crouch, who scored 11 in the first half, was harassed by Roberson in the second half and scored just two, including none in the fourth quarter. Center A.J. Comi (12 points) also was shut out in the final quarter. Garius Goshay had all nine Warhawks points.

"In all three meetings with Gibbs, despite their offensive talent, our biggest concern was an inability to score against them consistently," said Seminole coach Bill Barnett. "They play defense the way defense is supposed to be played."

Gibbs center Marreese Speights had a game-high 14 points and four blocks, while Brady and Borden each had 11.

In St. Petersburg's win, the Green Devils (19-7) made 13 of 17 first-half shots and never looked back as Ricky Pena scored 25 to lead the way.

Boca Ciega, which got 30 points from Marquel Brooks, finishes 15-9.

[Last modified February 19, 2004, 02:00:25]


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