tampabay.com

Pirates win it at the line

Sophomore Julius Forte calmy sinks his free throws in overtime.

By JOE SMITH
Published December 31, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - Pretty soon, teams will learn not to foul Boca Ciega sophomore Julius Forte in crunch time.

Just ask Clearwater.

The Tornadoes sent Forte, a 50 percent free-throw shooter, to the line with 27 seconds left in overtime of the Hooters Holiday Shootout championship game Saturday night.

The game was tied at 53.

"It's go time," coach Randy Shuman told Forte.

Forte, a 6-foot-4 lefty, lofted the first.

Swish.

Then, Forte did it again, giving the Pirates 11-3 the lead for good in their 56-53 win over Clearwater (14-2) at Eckerd College.

It was the second time in three days Forte hit a game-winning free throw.

Boca Ciega senior and tournament MVP Lamorya Daniels had sent the game to overtime by sinking a 3-pointer from the right corner with 28 seconds left. The clutch shot capped a back-and-forth second half between two of the county's top teams.

Boca Ciega's guards - Daniels (16 points), Nehemiah Simpkins (12) and Steve Andrews (16) slashed through the lane and hit 3s, while Clearwater star Luke Loucks (15 points) found senior Justin Morin (16) in transition.

In the third-place game, Pinellas Park junior guard Cam Carden scored 22 points to lead the Patriots (11-3) to a 65-50 win over St. Petersburg (11-5).

In the fifth-place game, Brandon beat Gibbs 60-56. Northeast won its third straight game, taking the consolation championship with a 53-41 victory over King.

Gulf Coast Shootout

Largo (12-3) was outscored by 14 in the fourth quarter against Mount Dora and fell 53-50 in the Gulf Coast Shootout title game in Naples.

Largo was coming off a 67-66 win over Bishop McNamara the night before and "ran out of gas," coach Phil Price said.

Seniors Charlie Lytle (21 points) and Ben O'Donnell (9) were named to the all-tournament team.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8129.