Ragged start dooms Chamberlain

Down to Gainesville Eastside by 29, the Tampa high school trims the margin to six before losing the Class 5A title game.

Published March 3, 2006

LAKELAND -- No matter how far they were down -- 29 points in the third quarter -- Chamberlain never stopped fighting against Gainesville Eastside in Friday's Class 5A state final at the Lakeland Center.

Yes, the Chiefs lost 58-47, but behind relentless man-to-man defense, they cut the gap to six points with one minute, 26 minutes remaining. Seconds later, James Devlin missed a 3-pointer that would have cut it to four.

In the end, though, the early deficit was too much to overcome.

The avalanche of trouble started in the first few minutes as Eastside's harrassing defense caused the Chiefs to bounce balls off feet and fumble passes. Then when Chamberlain did did get the chance to shoot, it was often a thudding brick.

At halftime Chamberlain trailed 36-13. After three quarters, the Chiefs trailed 46-22 and had tallied the following stats: 2-of-16 from the 3-point line, 9-of-36 from the floor, and 26 turnovers.

In the final quarter, however, Chamberlain outscored Eastside 25-12 with many of Eastside's points coming on free throws in the last seconds.