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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.
LAKELAND - At their best, they are a powerful pair, two French-speaking forwards who own the post.
For Calvary Christian, 6-foot-9 senior Kevin Cantinol is the "foundation" and 6-7 junior Christian bibi Ndongo the "spark plug," coach Dave Bintz said.
But in Wednesday's Class A semifinal against Gainesville The Rock, the duo were smothered, saddled with more fouls (nine) than points (eight).
As a result, the Warriors were put between a rock and a hard place.
The Rock beat Calvary Christian 51-38 in business-like fashion, holding the Warriors to 25-percent shooting and matching their lowest point total of the the season.
"Their defense was ... amazing," said Calvary Christian senior guard Brian Horrach, who shot 2-for-14 and scored eight points. "They were all over me, tugging my jersey. I couldn't get free."
Soon after the Warriors (27-3), making their first final four appearance, nervously ambled onto The Lakeland Center court, the. air was taken out of them.
Mississippi-bound Cantinol picked up his second foul 1 minute, 32 seconds into the game. He sat the rest of the quarter, and the out-of-sync Warriors fell behind by double digits.
"That was big-time," Bintz said of Cantinol's fouls. "That's what altered the rest of the game."
Cantinol (five points) returned in the second and pulled the Warriors within 19-16 on a one-handed dunk with 1:44 left in the half. But Cantinol and starting forward Marcos Quinones (nine points) picked up three fouls before halftime and the Warriors never got closer.
Each time Calvary chipped away, Youngstown State-bound senior Vytas Sulskis (15 points) and sophomore Josh Snodgrass (15) steadied the seasoned Lions (26-7), who boasted regular-season wins over 5A powers Gainesville and Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer. Unflappable down the stretch, the Lions sank 23 of 27 free throws.
"They're by far the best team we've played this year," Bintz said. "We've had a great run, and our seniors are a big reason why. It's a tough way to end."
The Lakeland Center. Tickets are $9 per session and $5 for parking.
Wednesday's games: Gainesville The Rock 51, Calvary Christian 38
Pine Castle Christian 49, Boca Raton Grandview Prep 38
Today's games: Tampa Prep vs. Port St. Joe, 11:30 a.m.
Arlington Country Day vs. West Palm Beach Summit Christian, 10 a.m.
Wednesday's games: Melbourne Florida Air 62, Jacksonville Ribault 40
Gainesville P.K. Yonge 79, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest 72
Today's games: Havana East Gadsden vs. Kathleen, 7 p.m.
Port Orange Atlantic vs. Miami Monsignor Pace, 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday's games: Lakewood 57, Jacksonville Robert E. Lee 44
Lake Howell 86, Fort Lauderdale Dillard 60
Today's games: Winter Park vs. Ely, 4 p.m.
Orlando Dr. Phillips vs. Miami Northwestern, 8:30 p.m.
Directions: Take Interstate 275 to Interstate 4 to exit 31 (Kathleen Road). Turn right on Kathleen Road and continue to Sikes Boulevard. Bear right at yield sign and turn right at the second traffic light (Lime Street). The Lakeland Center is on the right.