Chiefs, Dragons drive into title showdown

Published February 11, 2006

TAMPA - With four players in double figures and a total of nine players scoring points, Chamberlain had little trouble defeating Robinson in the Class 5A, District 10 semifinals.

The host and top seed, Chamberlain's up-tempo offense never slowed as the Chiefs pulled away in the second period on their way to a 72-53 win. Chamberlain (23-3), which advances to today's championship game against Jefferson, led by as much as 20 points in the second half. Jefferson earned a trip to the title game after defeating Leto 67-53 in the other semifinal.

After a 12-12 opening period, Chamberlain's offense found its spark in the form of back-to-back 3-pointers from Jonny Mack. Moments later, a 21-21 score turned into a 32-25 Chief lead and Chamberlain never looked back.

As Robinson's defense struggled to limit Chamberlain's offensive opportunities, the Knights also found themselves in foul trouble. Two Robinson players fouled out as the team had a total of 22, helping send Chamberlain shooters to the free throw line 25 times.

James Devlin and Cory Haynes led Chamberlain with 12 points each while Kylan Robinson added 10 and Mack had 11. Robinson's Michael Earls led all scorers with 19 points while freshman Sheldon Cooley had 16 before fouling out.

Jefferson, meanwhile, fell behind early in its game against Leto but rallied in the second period to post the come-from-behind victory. The second-seeded Dragons (18-7) were down by eight points early but posted a 32-point second period en route to their 14-point win.

Jefferson's Dervin Lopez scored 18 points and Aaron Jennings, Marcellino Rodriguez and Cory Dennie scored 14 each. Leto was led by Joelys Himely's 20 points and Kelvin Daniels' 13.

5A-8: Wildcats, Eagles win

It's Wharton versus Brandon, round 4.

The two Hillsborough County titans secured their matchup in tonight's final with convincing semifinal victories at Newsome.

Wharton (22-5) built on a nine-point halftime lead to defeat Tampa Bay Tech (16-9) 72-55. Brandon (20-6) sprinted to a 29-7 first-quarter lead and coasted past Bloomingdale (17-10) 82-46.

Brandon looked particularly sharp, using a fullcourt press and zone trap to force numerous turnovers and easy baskets.

Devin Smith led the Eagles with 22 and slick passing Korri Ennis contributed 17.

"We shot well and stepped up defensively quite a bit," Brandon coach Mark Hermann said. "I just hope we have some energy left for tomorrow night."

Wharton, which has won 12 consecutive games, was paced by Shawn Vanzant with 20 points, Adam Noble with 13 and Derek Holmes with 12.

"I was happy with the free-throw shooting tonight (17-of-21)," Wildcats coach Tommy Tonelli said after a poor performance earlier in the tournament. "I was especially pleased with the play of our sophomores, Derek Holmes and Anthony Manuel."

Wharton has won two of the three meetings against Brandon, setting the stage for tonight's title game at 7.

--JOEL POILEY Times correspondent5A-9: Largo vs. Clearwater

LARGO - Clearwater settled a couple of old scores, dismantling Palm Harbor University 71-48.

The Tornadoes will play host Largo in tonight's championship game. The Packers cruised to a 58-32 victory over Pinellas Park.

--BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer