Eastside bounces Boca Ciega

Published December 30, 2005

BRADENTON - On paper, Boca Ciega had plenty of height to match up with Gainesville Eastside. Unfortunately, on the floor, no one could stop 6-foot-3 center Latoya Williams.

Williams, who is being heavily recruited by several Division I colleges, had 23 points and seven offensive rebounds to help Eastside beat Boca Ciega 52-31 in the Willie Clemons Memorial Scholarship Classic. The senior finished with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

"She's a fantastic player," Boca Ciega coach William White said.

The Pirates have four players over 6 feet, but they all lack the experience of Williams, who has played varsity four years. The Rams exposed this inexperience early and often, outrebounding the Pirates 31-22 with 17 offensive boards.

"We need to learn how to fight for rebounds," White said. "We've been able to get away with (being outrebounded) early on, but we can't let it happen against quality teams."

The Pirates also had difficulty handling the halfcourt trap in the first half. Ten of Bogie's 26 turnovers came in the opening quarter and Eastside scored 10 points off those mistakes to take a 16-8 lead.

Williams continued her hot scoring in the second quarter, after dropping in six points in the first, dominating the boards with three offensive rebounds and eight points. The Rams outscored the Pirates 10-3 in the quarter to take a 26-11 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Pirates (10-3) cut the deficit to 32-19 on an 8-2 run led by a Tiffany Williams (11 points) assist and 3-pointer. But in the fourth, Latoya Williams returned and scored eight for the Rams to put the Pirates away.

It was senior guard Tiffany Williams' third game back after an extensive layoff due to an ACL injury and subsequent surgery.

KINGDOM OF THE SUN: Largo got 21 points from Nate Johnson as the Packers clamped down a high-scoring Tallahassee Godby team for a 74-62 win in Ocala.

The Packers trailed 48-46 entering the fourth quarter but used a huge quarter, outscoring Godby 28-14 to pull out the win.

Charlie Lytle (14), Ben O'Donnell (13) and Alex Gerhard (12) also scored in double figures for Largo (9-2).

CHASE MEMORIAL CLASSIC: Clearwater advanced to the championship game at Hudson High with a come-from-behind 64-45 victory over Freedom.

The Tornadoes (10-1) were led by Nick Nickerson's four 3-pointers and 20 points, and Luke Loucks added 14.

Clearwater trailed 31-30 at halftime but held Freedom to 14 second-half points to win handily.

In a consolation game, DeShawn Matias scored 16 and Peter Alexandrou added 12 as Countryside knocked off the host Cobras 67-52.

GULF SHORES SHOOTOUT: A.J. Tyler scored 23 to lead Palm Harbor University to its second win in three days in Naples.

- JOHN C. COTEY, Times staff writer