By Times Staff Writers
Published February 22, 2004
After hitting a buzzer-beater to end the third quarter, who better to turn to in desperate times in the fourth than Ricky Pena?
"During the timeout, I just told him, "Ricky, it's your game,' " said St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell.
Everyone knew who the ball was going to, but Joey Parr's screen got Pena open, and Donald Bowens' pass got Pena the ball. With a defender in his face, Pena drilled a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left to send Saturday's Class 5A, District 10 game into overtime, where St. Petersburg was able to hold off Gibbs for a 42-40 win.
The victory gives St. Petersburg (20-7) its first district title since 1988. The Green Devils will host Largo next Thursday in the regionals, while Gibbs has to travel to Clearwater.
After Pena's shot, the Green Devils were able to control overtime thanks to some big rebounds. Jerold Robinson's short jumper put the Green Devils ahead 39-37, and rebounds by Brian Blakely, Thaddeus Vaughn and two by Bowens gave then second and third shots, which they converted into free throws to take a 41-38 lead.
Donald Lovitte scored for Gibbs to make it 41-40, and the Gladiators had a chance to take the lead before Pena's steal with 7 seconds left sent him to the free-throw line.
After he made 1 of 2 free throws, Gibbs got a wide open look at the basket but Darian Simms' jumper was short and the ball caromed out of bounds with one second left.
Pena finished with 16 points, and Vaughn added nine points and four rebounds for St. Petersburg.
Walter Brady scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the third quarter for Gibbs.
- JOHN C. COTEY
5A-9: Clearwater sends Largo packing
CLEARWATER - "They're good," said Largo coach Phillip Price, after the No. 6 Packers lost to No. 1 Clearwater 62-55 in Saturday night's final at Countryside.
"We were 8 of 26 for two-pointers. You can't shoot bad and beat a good team," Price said.
The Packers (19-8) shot well from beyond the arc though, and Kyle Johnson's 3 three-pointers in the first quarter kept Largo within two points after the first quarter, and down just six at the half, 30-24. Johnson had 16 of his 18 points in the first half.
Clearwater (25-2) took control of the game in the third quarter. Darius Hart's penetration freed up Benny Clyde for eight points in the quarter, while Jon Thomas fed Cruz Daniels who posted most of the night at the free-throw line. Largo's 2-3 zone defense gave Daniels the 15-foot jumper all night, and Daniels made them pay.
"That's the shot we were willing to sacrifice, and he hit them," said Price.
Daniels ended with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. Hart led with 21 points. Thomas had 11 assists and nine rebounds.
Fred Marshall led the Packers with 21 points. Trevor Bing had 13 points.
"That's a great team. Their tournament record is outstanding," said Clearwater coach Jack Coit.
- ERIC MUSKATEVC
4A-13: Spartans perfect in district
ST. PETERSBURG - Lakewood finished district play undefeated with a 72-62 victory over Bradenton Southeast in the title game at Osceola. The Seminoles kept the game interesting throughout the whole first half.
Joshua Davis had 12 of his 17 points in the first half for the Seminoles, who twice pulled within a point in the second quarter. A jumper by Davis cut the Lakewood lead to 34-33 late in the second quarter. Lakewood led 42-37 at halftime after an 8-4 run.
"The adjustment we made in the second half was to double team Davis and Lamont Houston every time they touched the ball," Lakewood coach Dan Wright said.
Telfair led Lakewood with 17 points and seven rebounds.
"I gave it a great effort, and it was great to help my team win the championship," Telfair said.
Sean Morrison contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds for Lakewood.
- CARMINO IMONDI
3A-9: St. Petersburg Catholic survives
ST. PETERSBURG - St. Petersburg Catholic won its third straight district championship with a 68-65 overtime victory against Robinson. The Barons, ranked No.6 in 3A, finished 12-0 in district play.
With 4.2 seconds left in overtime, the Knights' Antwon Royal hit a 3-pointer to put them within one. SPC's Aaron Holmes was fouled on the inbound. He hit both free throws to seal it. Larry Christian scored eight for the Barons (24-2) in overtime, including 6-for-8 from the line.
Robinson (11-16) took an early lead behind Royal's three 3-pointers. The Knights led 21-17 after the first.
SPC trailed 32-25 at halftime.
Holmes scored seven in the third, helping the Barons outscore the Knights 18-8 in the quarter.
Royal and Abreu each scored 23 for the Knights. Royal had five 3-pointers.
"I am a little more proud of the way this came about," SPC coach Mike Moran said of the title. "I couldn't be prouder. We did not have the mindset of losing. Districts means a lot to this school."
- CHARLES CARDWELL
2A-11: Farragut works extra for win
ST. PETERSBURG - Saturday's Class 2A, District 11 final was an overtime game to remember.
In the extra period Tommy Lampley and Lewis Lampley took over. As Northside misfired from the outside in OT, the Lampleys combined smothering defensive pressure with clutch shots to lead Admiral Farragut to a nail-biting 75-69 victory.
"We just stuck together," said Tommy Lampley, who scored 14. "We need to work hard in practice on the little things and go out next game and execute our gameplan."
After Farragut took a 63-60 lead, Northside got the ball off of a missed free throw with 17 seconds left. Mustang sophomore Christian Boyle then hit the tying 3-pointer from about 3 feet behind the line to force overtime. The Mustangs were led by Scott McClain and Todd Wilkerson, who each scored 20.