Lake Wales edges SPC

Published December 30, 2005

ST PETERSBURG - Two open looks. Two missed opportunities.

St. Petersburg Catholic hung with a supremely athletic Lake Wales team and had multiple opportunities at the end to either win or send their semifinal into overtime. But the Barons could not capitalize, falling 66-63 Thursday in the Hooters Holiday Shootout.

It was not for lack of effort. Late in the fourth, Noah Cumby (seven points) forced a jumpball by blocking a layup on 6-foot-2 Jerrell Wilson (13 points), who has 3 inches on him. Cumby drained a 3-pointer with less than three minutes left to make it 64-63. He followed with a steal at halfcourt with 1:30 remaining, giving SPC (7-1) a much needed extra possession.

"Normally Noah is a guy we sub for late in games for defensive purposes, but we didn't need to do that tonight," Barons coach Mike Moran said. "He really played well down the stretch on defense.

The Barons' defensive efforts were often thwarted, however, because SPC also gave up too many offensive rebounds.

"That's all we've talked about for two days is to limit them to one shot, but it's awful easy to talk about it," Moran said. "It's another thing to deal with a guy as big as (Anthony) Johnson (6-foot-8) is. And he's not the only one. We were out-athleted at a couple of positions and really down the stretch with all the second opportunities; it kind of manifested itself in that."

Johnson's (16 points) size and athleticism caused SPC forward Ed Rolax (six points) to have his worst offensive game of the tournament, but he was not the only victim. Aaron Holmes still scored 27, but he often was forced into shooting under duress and was even pressured into some ill-advised shots. Grady Jorgenson finished with 11 points but missed a late 3-pointer that would have tied it at 66.

"I told (Holmes) I wanted him to drive and draw help and he did, and Grady probably should have caught and shot it but instead he caught and tried to make a move on it," Moran said.

Jarel Blocker led Lake Wales (12-2) and all scorers with 20 points.

LAKEWOOD 66, ST. PETERSBURG 36: Lakewood used its usual formula of fullcourt man-to-man pressure defense to build a 45-23 lead over three quarters. Lakewood led 54-30 with 4:52 remaining before coach Daniel Wright started subbing in reserves.

Edward Nixon led all scorers with 28 points, scoring more points in each half (14 points) than the Green Devils' highest scorer. Shamen Cox led St. Petersburg with 13 points off the bench in a game where none of his starters produced more than Donald Bowens' seven points. Lakewood got 26 points out of its starting backcourt with Dion Burton scoring 14 and Anthony Dorsey adding 12.

CARDINAL GIBBONS 80, GIBBS 70: A bad second quarter spelled defeat for Gibbs. Gibbs was behind by just four at the end of the first, then was outscored 22-12.

After trailing the visitors 37-23 at halftime, Gibbs used two runs of 10 and six points to get back in it. The Gladiators forced seven second-half turnovers, but did not get enough offense out of their starters. Gibbs reserves Tracy Parks had 14 points to lead the team, and Larry Murphy added 12.

DR. KROP 60, BOGIE 43: Boca Ciega benefited from South Cobb's decision to forfeit its spot in Thursday's semifinal. Eagles coach Tommy McWhorter's team was a game from violating Georgia high school regulations for maximum games allowed.

South Cobb (11-1) is ranked first in its region and did not want to incur penalties for playing more than 25 games, which would include fines and forfeiture of a region game. So the Pirates advanced despite losing 67-63 to the Eagles.

Nehemiah Simpkins scored a game-high 14, but he and his tired Pirate teammates could not match the Lightning's high intensity. Dr. Krop won easily despite committing 11 turnovers. Eric Rodriguez led the team with 11 points.