Wharton dominates, wins tournament final

The Wildcats do n't give Oldsmar Christian a chance, beating the Eagles 75-41 for first place.

By MIKE CAMUNAS Times Correspondent
Published December 31, 2006

HUDSON - Wharton can make its wins look easy.

When a team dominates a tournament - like it did the Third Annual Chase Memorial Invitational - the Wildcats' 75-41 championship win over Oldsmar Christian looked like just another lap around the court.

Not so, preaches coach Tommy Tonelli.

"They don't think (the wins) just happen," Tonelli said. "They know when they put the jersey on that they are expected to play hard."

As expected, the Wildcats (12-1) got another stellar performance from guard Shawn Vanzant. The leader for the fifth-ranked team in the state in Class 5A had 10 points against the Eagles (8-5) and was named the tournament's MVP, scoring 49 points in three games.

Wharton also had help from guard Adam Noble, who had 12 points, including three 3-pointers, and was named to the all-tournament team. Guard Anthony Gomez had 14 points.

As for Tonelli, he said he's just happy to see his players succeed the way they deserve.

"I was very happy for our team to experience (winning a championship)," Tonelli said. "Seeing them win, seeing them smiling - it's very satisfying to know how much work they've done."

Jesuit (4-9) dropped an overtime thriller 79-78 against East Lake (7-7) to take sixth place. The Tigers were led by guards Jake Seymour and Andrew Darst, who had 18 and 16 points, respectively.

East Lake guard Josh Garcia, who had 20 points, hit consecutive 3-pointers to go ahead 67-64. Then Darst made a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to tie the game.

The teams exchanged layups to go into overtime at 69, but Darst missed two free throws, giving East Lake the win.