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Eagles struggle, but battle past Chamberlain

Published February 27, 2004

BRANDON - Chamberlain scrapped and scrapped, and despite being outmanned, gave No. 1 ranked Brandon a scare in Class 5A before falling 49-38.

"Whew," Brandon coach Mark Hermann said. "Chamberlain did a great job. They came in fired up and played hard and if they had hit a few more shots it could have gotten really interesting."

Particularly in the third quarter.

That's when the Chiefs, after efficiently passing through and around Brandon, missed five open shots. The Eagles, meantime, made the most of their opportunities and took a 34-29 lead into the fourth period.

When Brandon (25-3) opened up a 40-29 lead minutes later, it appeared Chamberlain (14-15) was on the verge of bowing out.

But the Chiefs had one more run in them.

Three quick baskets cut it to 40-36 and Chamberlain had the ball before missing yet another open 3-pointer.

"That would have been big to hit that one," Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin said.

Brandon moves on to play in Tuesday's regional semifinal at Lake Region, a 68-50 winner over Land O'Lakes.

"Our guys didn't stop playing tonight against a fired-up Chamberlain team, and I think they're ready to go to Lake Region and play well again," Hermann said. "These guys have been in big games and they know how to handle themselves."

Jamal Thompson led Brandon on Tuesday with 13 points.

James Devlin led Chamberlain with 17.

5A: Russell, Gaither eliminate Plant

TAMPA - Antonio Russell dazzled Plant with his arsenal of moves. The Gaither senior posted up smaller Panther defenders, sank 8 of 13 free throws, scoring 22 points as the Cowboys downed Plant 54-42.

Gaither (20-7) reeled off the first seven points, but Plant scored the next seven as the teams remained deadlocked up to 18. That's when Russell seized the advantage, closing out the second quarter with six straight points. Jonathan Archerd finally scored after a four-minute drought for Plant (14-12), but Russell revved it up in the third. He scored four more, including a silky baseline jumper while the lead grew to 11. Archerd connected on one of his three 3-pointers (team-high 15 points), cutting into the margin at 31-23. With the quarter winding down, Russell pushed the ball up the floor and threw in a wild shot at the buzzer for a 39-25 edge. While Russell had everything working, the Panthers' game plan fell to pieces.

"Our shots weren't falling," Plant coach Mike Phillips said. "We average six threes a game. They didn't fall and we weren't able to get the ball inside to our big men. "


6A: Riverview falls in final minute

RIVERVIEW - In a game that came down to the wire, Orlando Timber Creek advanced with a 58-56 win over Riverview.

A game that looked like a blowout early when Timber Creek (21-7) ran off 13 straight points in the opening quarter, abruptly turned the other way. The Sharks put together a 13-point run of their own in the second quarter. The result of all this early commotion was a 33-27 half-time lead for the Wolves because of the pounding inside that Len Jean Pierre (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) was putting on an undermanned Riverview team, garnering 10 points, all on close-in muscle shots.

In the second half, Riverview coach Mike Baker altered his strategy and put two and sometimes three men down deep on the Timber Creek center. Jean Pierre was held to just three points in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Sharks were creeping back into the game. Exhibiting an aggressiveness not seen earlier, they managed to tie the score at 40 as the third period ended. Riverview's Patrick Wonsey's five field goals in the third period set the pace for the Sharks.

Riverview finally took the lead on a beautiful pass to Wonsey (26 points) under the basket from Quincy Jones. Wonsey converted the three-point play for a 52-49 Shark lead with 2:33 left. Scores were exchanged until one minute remained with the score knotted at 53.

Riverview had possession until an errant pass gave the ball to Timber Creek and the Wolves quickly scored twice to go up 57-53 with eight seconds left.

Immediately, a long inbounds pass and shot by Riverview's Steve Walker (17 points) resulted in his fifth 3-pointer of the game and allowed the Sharks to close within one. But with a second left, a free throw by Timber Creek's Matt Stovall ended the scoring.


6A: Cypress Creek ousts Bloomingdale

Bloomingdale's season ended Tuesday night with a 50-41 loss at Orlando Cypress Creek.

Brandon Joseph led Bloomingdale (14-14) with 12 points. Cypress Creek's Antoin Clemens led all players with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Cypress Creek improved to 16-11.


[Last modified February 27, 2004, 01:31:31]


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