LAKELAND - Clearwater came, saw and went ... quickly.
After playing its worst game of the season, the Tornadoes skipped the postgame news conference, drawing an almost certain $250 fine from the Florida High School Athletic Association.
It's probably worth it for coach Jack Coit, who didn't have to discuss why his team struggled in its biggest game, losing 51-42 to Lake Howell at the Lakeland Center Wednesday in the Class 5A semifinals.
Clearwater (27-3) shot just 33 percent from the field and made 2 of 19 3-pointers while being outplayed down the stretch by freshmen.
John Roberson, Nicholas Calathes and Jose Rodriguez made sure the Tornadoes didn't come back, though they had their chances. The trio of freshmen made 4 of 6 free throws in the final 1:01 after Clearwater cut its deficit to 45-39.
The only Lake Howell basket in the fourth quarter came on a dunk by Patrick Calathes in the final seconds, but Clearwater couldn't capitalize.
"That wasn't the plan," coach Reggie Kohn said. "But I guess that's what defense is for."
Clearwater's point total was its lowest this season except for the PCAC title game, in which Lakewood stalled for a 31-23 win.
Lake Howell put the game away with an 11-3 run to end the third. The Silver Hawks, who meet Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in Friday's final, didn't shoot well either but came up with some big loose balls. Clearwater had 13 turnovers in the second half to Lake Howell's five.
Clearwater never looked comfortable. It lost a half-dozen balls under the basket after getting rebounds, missed a slew of short shots and never made a shot when it really needed one.
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-for-18. Senior guard Luke Postorino came off the bench but made only 1 of 6.
Clearwater held Lake Howell's leading scorer, 6-foot-10 St. Joseph's signee Patrick Calathes, to eight points, 14 below his season average. But Roberson scored 13, Calathes nine and Rodriguez seven to account for more than half of their team's points.