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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA - Tampa Baptist was plenty familiar with Bradenton Christian's run-and-gun style having played the Panthers twice this season. Still, the Rams could do little but watch as Bradenton Christian hit on eight-of-nine 3-pointers in a 35-point first-period outburst en route to a 90-75 thumping of the Rams.
And the game wasn't even that for Tampa Baptist, which put together a furious rally to creep to within 10 points late before the Panthers stretched the margin. The loss ends Tampa Baptist's season at 23-5 and was its third loss of the season against Bradenton Christian. The Panthers, meanwhile, head to the region final with a 28-1 record and ranked fifth in the state poll.
Tampa Baptist did manage to outscore the Panthers in two periods, including the fourth when a 12-2 Ram run reduced the score to 78-68 with 4:37 left, the closest it had been since the game's opening moments. But Tampa Baptist's late surge wasn't nearly enough to douse Bradenton Christian's offensive fireworks that included:
Twenty points 41/2 minutes into the game and 50 at the half.
Six Panthers in double figures, including all five starters.
Hitting 13-of-22 shots from 3-point range.
Making 37 shots and leading by as much as 25 for most of the second period.
Jeff Wehlig led the Panthers with 19 points while Joe Wood and Kevin Yoder each had 14. Center David Magley scored 16 while Chase Cofer added 10 for Bradenton Christian.
Tampa Baptist's respectable rally was led by Justin Fisher, who scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth period. Jeremy Jackson scored 25 for the Rams and Blake Allen had 22.
"Our kids didn't quit at all," Tampa Baptist coach Tom Dibble said. "They (Bradenton Christian) had nine 3-pointers in the first. We tried to press them, we tried an angle zone, nothing worked.
"We got down, made a nice comeback but when you're down by that much that quick, it's tough."