LAKELAND - Clearwater never led in being knocked out of the Class 5A state semifinals at the Lakeland Center on Wednesday night and, to make matters worse, drew a likely $250 fine from the Florida High School Athletic Association for skipping the postgame news conference.
Not that there was much to talk about after Lake Howell's 51-42 victory. Clearwater (27-3) shot just 33 percent from the field and made 2 of 19 3-pointers in their worst offensive performance of the season.
Lake Howell, coached by former USF point guard Reggie Kohn, put the game away with an 11-3 run to end the third quarter.
The Silver Hawks, who will meet Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in Friday's final, made only one field goal in the fourth, but Clearwater couldn't capitalize.
"That wasn't the plan," Kohn said. "But I guess that's what defense is for."
Junior center Cruz Daniels led the Tornadoes with 14 points and 18 rebounds and was the only starter to shoot well, making 6 of 8 shots.
Benny Clyde scored 14 as well. Minus those two, the Tornado starters shot 3-of-18. Senior guard Luke Postorino came off the bench but made only 1 of 6.
Clearwater held Lake Howell's leading scorer, Patrick Calathes, to eight points, 14 below his average. But freshmen John Roberson and Nicholas Calathes scored 13 and nine, respectively.