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Bogie, Lakewood in final

It's down to the usual suspects

By BOB PUTNAM
Published February 1, 2007


GULFPORT - The district final again will come down to the usual suspects: Boca Ciega and Lakewood.

A matchup between the top seeds, anticipated since the season began, became a reality as each team won their semifinals in a blowout.

The host Pirates, the No. 2 seed, rolled to an 80-24 victory over Gibbs with stifling defense, sizzling 3-point shooting and crisp ball movement.

The point total was one of the highest in a game this season for Boca Ciega (21-5) and was the product of a well-balanced attack that had nine players score, including three (Ashley Williams, Tory Stephens and Latavia Dempsey) in double figures.

It is the 15th straight season the Pirates have reached the district final, the third-longest streak in the state.

"I'm real proud of the kids for keeping that going," coach Will White said.

The top-seeded Spartans, meanwhile, played smothering defense and ran effectively in transition to rout Northeast 57-23.

Lakewood (21-5) jumped to a 30-6 lead after the first quarter and coach Necole Tunsil used the majority of her reserves the rest of the game.

"The first quarter was kind of a statement," Tunsil said. "We showed that we weren't going to underestimate Northeast. Now we get to face Boca Ciega again in what has always been a great rivalry."

Last year, the Pirates beat the Spartans for the district title. The teams split their games in the regular season.

Boys basketball

Lakewood junior point guard Reggie Reed picked the right time to play his best game of the season. Reed scored eight of his 17 points in a critical second-quarter run, which sparked the host Spartans in their 81-65 win over St. Petersburg. Lakewood (21-2) clinched a berth in Friday's PCAC championship, where the Spartans will travel to face Largo at 7.

The Green Devils (17-7) took a three-point second-quarter lead. Lakewood managed two field goals, but went 13-for-16 from the free-throw line to go up 42-35 at halftime. From there, it was all Lakewood. Green Devils Shamon Cox and Garren Adulte each scored 17.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer