tampabay.com

This time, rally is enough

Plant falls behind Chamberlain again, but unlike their first meeting the Panthers prevail.

By BRYAN BURNS
Published January 13, 2007


TAMPA - The second meeting of Class 5A, District 10 leaders Chamberlain and Plant played out much like their first on Nov. 30, with Plant falling behind by double digits early and making a comeback.

Unlike that early-season matchup, however, when the Panthers fell short and lost by four, Plant (15-1, 8-1), thanks to timely shooting from forward Chandler Flom, completed the comeback to win 65-62 and gain a half-game in the race for the district tournament's No. 1 seed.

Plant tied the score at 56 in the fourth quarter after a technical foul was called on Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin, and Ben Powers hit the subsequent free throws for Plant. Flom hit from 3-point range a minute later to give the Panthers their first lead since midway through the second quarter.

He hit his second 3-pointer with just more than a minute left to give Plant its largest lead of the night, six points.

"He's got ice water in his veins," Plant coach Mike Phillips said of his 6-foot-3 junior. "Chandler's a player. Nothing bothers him at all. He's going to do whatever it takes to win."

Things looked bleak for Plant when Flom, who finished with 18 points, picked up his fourth foul with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Panthers had come back to make it a three point game after Chamberlain (15-3, 8-2) used an 18-2 spurt midway through the second quarter to pull in front by 11 points.

"Once we got it tight at the end, we talked about being effective in what we're doing, do what we practiced," Phillips said. "I don't know if it was the TV cameras (for broadcast on Catch 47), the crowd or all the media, but we got out of what we do (in the first half) and played stupid."

Dontae Aycock hit three 3-pointers and led all scorers with 23 points for Chamberlain, which lost its second district game in a row. Sheldon Cooley's 21 points was a team-high for Plant. The 6-foot-3 guard also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.