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Preps

Eagles knock off Panthers

By Times Staff Writers
Published February 22, 2004

TAMPA - As time expired in Brandon's district final against Plant, the Eagles' Jonathon Banks hauled in a length-of-the-court pass near the Panthers' free-throw line then delivered a two-handed, rim-rocking slam. Though the basket didn't count because time had expired, the dunk was as emphatic as the point driven home: Brandon continues to dominate Hillsborough County teams.

The visiting Eagles erased a three-point halftime deficit to defeat Plant 60-50 in the CLass 5A, District 8 final, marking their 40th victory in a row against Hillsborough County foes and consecutive district titles.

"We kind of traded baskets with them in the first half," Brandon coach Mark Herman said. "But I knew our defense would come around and then all we had to do was start knocking down shots."

Banks did it all for the Eagles, making an impact on both ends of the floor. The senior guard led three Eagles in double figures with 20 points, 14 in the first half. Banks also paced Brandon with 10 rebounds, hitting 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Banks scored 10 in the first quarter as the Eagles built a 20-11 lead. But Brandon managed just six points in the second quarter and Plant took a 29-26 halftime lead on Jonathon Archerd's 3-pointer.

"That second quarter nearly killed us," Herman said. "I told the team at halftime that Plant was matching our intensity and this was for the district championship so we better step it up."

The Eagles responded.

Aubrey Brown hit one of the Brandon's eight 3-pointers on the night to cap a 13-4 run out of halftime. The stretch gave the Eagles a 39-33 advantage and a lead they would not relinquish.

Brown scored 13 points and Taylor Gangis added 12 for the Eagles. Archerd (four three pointers) led the way for Plant with 16.

- BRANDON WRIGHT

5A-7: Cowboys shut down Chiefs, go on for rout

TAMPA - Chamberlain scored the first basket of the second half Friday, then nothing. Gaither outscored the Chiefs 13-0 for the rest of the quarter on its way to a 56-28 victory in the 5A-7 title game.

The Chiefs (14-14) ended their drought more than eight minutes after that initial second-half basket, by which time Gaither led 40-23.

"It takes kids who have been in the program and show good leadership," Cowboys coach Dwayne Olinger said of his defense, which forced as many turnovers (eight) as Chamberlain had points in the first quarter. "They react to how the game is played, so they're able to anticipate passes and get to shooters."

James Devlin energized Chamberlain with a four-point play as the Chiefs, who trailed 20-10 early, surged within 23-19. Devlin had four 3-pointers in the half and scored 13 of the Chiefs' 19 points.

- ANTHONY GAGLIANO

6A-6: Team effort propels Riverview to first title

RIVERVIEW - Tenacious defensive by Riverview combined with clutch second-half shooting thwarted the one-man effort of Bloomingdale's Lee Richardson in a 48-42 victory and its first district title.

Richardson made seven 3-pointers that counted and one that didn't.

After he opened the scoring, Riverview's Steven Walker answered with two 3-pointers. But Richardson kept the Bulls in the game, scoring 14 of their 20 first-half points. But a 3-pointer that would have brought Bloomingdale within three came just after the third-quarter buzzer.

The Kovacs brothers, junior Jeff and sophomore David, led Riverview in the second half. Clinging to Bloomingdale center Theo Smalling, David held him to 12 points.

"That was my job," David Kovacs said. "I am not supposed to score much, but my job is to rebound and set screens."

And set screens he did, as Jeff consistently came off of them to score 17 points after just two in the first half.

"We are just real happy we were able to get this district championship," Jeff Kovacs said.

- JIM REESE

[Last modified February 22, 2004, 01:45:26]


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