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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
By DOUG KATES Times Correspondent
Published February 8, 2007
CLEARWATER - When St. Petersburg started its semifinal with a 10-0 lead and finished with a 40-24 victory over Countryside, it completed an unusual statistic for two basketball games in the same gymnasium.
In the opening game, Sickles led Gaither 12-0 before emerging victorious 42-40. As a result, in both playoff games combined, neither St. Petersburg nor Sickles ever trailed.
"I think the brackets played out the way they were supposed to," said Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said. "We out-sized these guys tonight. We jumped on top of them and didn't let up."
The No. 1-seeded Green Devils had eight players score, including Geno Green, the only player to break double digits with 10 points.
The No. 2-seeded Gryphons led their game 25-17 at halftime, but were outscored 23-17 in the second half. The outcome went down to the wire, but the Cowboys ran out of time.
"You can't spot a good basketball team a 12-point lead," Gaither coach Dwayne Olinger said. "You can't spot any team 12 points at this point."
The Green Devils and Gryphons split a pair of games during the regular season. Blackwell is hoping St. Petersburg will play in Saturday's final like the team did in the semis.
"I hope we're on top from beginning to end," he said. "But it should be a dogfight from start to end."