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A symbiotic relationship

Published January 13, 2006

LECANTO - Much like everything else about their relationship, Collin Pugh's lanky 6-foot-6 frame, wide wingspan and neatly cropped hair are in stark contrast to teammate Greg Simerly's shaved head and 6-foot-3 solid build.

Both are junior centers for Lecanto. That's where the similarities start to end and differences begin.

Simerly loves the Bulls and Michael Jordan. Pugh prefers the Miami Heat and Shaquille O'Neal, though he said Shaq's style is more similar to Simerly's than his. Pugh likes Mexican food, Simerly loves Chinese.

"Greg is a lady's man," joked Pugh. "I'm not. I'm shy."

Off the court they are friends, and on the court they have combined in the post as "the two-headed center," as coach Chris Nichols calls them.

Pugh's 20 blocked shots have helped the Panthers all season, including two momentum changes against Crystal River en route to a Lecanto 70-63 win on Jan. 7.

Simerly is the bruiser who comes in to change shots.

"I may not get all the rebounds, but I hit the guy I'm guarding," Simerly said.

"Every time a shot goes up, I take out the biggest man. As long as my guy didn't get the rebound, I've done my job."

Their combined role is nothing new. Both have split time since eighth grade at Citrus Springs Middle School.

Both average three rebounds a game. Simerly averages five points, while Pugh totals to two. Simerly leads the Panthers with an 82 percent free-throw average. Neither shoots that often, but when they do, they are better than 60 percent.

"The two have been pretty instrumental," Nichols said.

After being moved up to varsity this year, they have helped Lecanto (12-2, 7-0 Class 4A, District 6) dominate the district and beat opponents by an average of 17 points.

"We've got such a different style of play," Pugh said. "What Greg does well, I tend to lack.

"We complement each other. I think that's why Coach keeps both of us around and calls us the two-headed center."

GAME TIME: The Lecanto boys play at Citrus and Citrus girls play at Lecanto at 7 p.m. today.

[Last modified January 13, 2006, 01:45:18]

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