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North Suncoast roundup
By MIKE CAMUNAS, Times Correspondent
Published November 21, 2007
DADE CITY - Without hesitation, Land O'Lakes coach Mark Pearson admitted to it.
During Pasco's run to an undefeated season, the Pirates beat Land O'Lakes 2-1 on Jan. 17. So in the early-season Sunshine Athletic Conference game Tuesday night, in which the Gators came out victorious 3-0, Land O'Lakes was willing to admit last season still hung in the air.
"We really thought we should have won that game (last season)," Pearson said. "We wanted to play this game later on when both teams were really swinging it.
"But we were thinking about it - there's no doubt about that."
All the scoring took place in the first half, when in the 13th minute the Gators (4-0) hit a goal on a Matthew Tanner free kick. Less than five minutes later, freshman Charles Lynch hit a shot off a volley on an assist from Dominic Cutrofello. Senior Elliot Leniton added the third goal in extra time on a through ball from John Gorman.
"We really wanted to get this one because no one on this team has ever beaten Pasco," said Alex Spock, whose six saves helped Land O'Lakes to its fourth straight shutout. "It's big tonight because now we'll take the bragging rights."
The Pirates (3-1) had their chances, including early when the ball slipped past Spock on a charge on the ball, and when Pasco was awarded a penalty kick in the second half only to have senior Jose Montelongo send it wide right.
Land O'Lakes was held to just five shots in the second.
"The result doesn't reflect how we played," Pirates coach Barry Grayling said. "I thought we dominated in the second half"
Mitchell 36, Ridgewood 30
NEW PORT RICHEY - It might be winning ugly, but as long as it continues to emerge victorious, Mitchell won't complain. Three nights after scoring just 37 in a win over St. Petersburg, the Mustangs rode a suffocating defense to a sloppy 36-30 victory over county rival Ridgewood.
There was plenty for Mitchell to be pleased about, particularly the play of Latoya Hillmon, one of the few contributors remaining from a team that went 25-3 last season. The senior guard recorded six steals and scored 13, three on a shot from just inside the halfcourt line that gave Mitchell a 23-16 lead at the end of the first half.
Ridgewood turned the ball over 30 times and was out-rebounded 25-17.
"It was real sloppy," said Hillmon, whose Mustangs had 22 turnovers.
Mitchell forward Hannah Bernard scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Lashe Kirkland added eight points and five rebounds.
David Murphy, Times staff writer
Wiregrass Ranch 56, Sunlake 46
At Wiregrass Ranch, Tanner Carey, Sean Cooper and Eric Williams scored 12 each. Wiregrass (1-0) trailed by 12 early in the second quarter but rallied to take the lead in the third, then took control.
The Bulls went 1-22 last season.
"Being led by a couple of underclassmen, it's nice to see our young guys step up," Wiregrass coach Jeremy Calzone said. "Hopefully, we can build on this."
Springstead 72, Pasco 69
At Pasco, the Eagles outscored the Pirates by nine in the final quarter to win their season opener. Junior point guard Dante Valentine led the way with 22 points. Junior forward Dominique Roberson added 17.
Shooting guard Demetrius Larry paced Pasco with 30 points.
"It was a sloppy first half, but the thing our kids did, they played through it," Springstead coach Pat Kelly said. "We told them to keep playing and at some point we would break through the wall. We started making a couple of shots and they started turning it over. And when we did catch them, we kept going."
CCC 44, Bishop McLaughlin 41
At Clearwater Central Catholic, the home team improved to 2-0 behind the 34-point effort of guard Eric Segert. Bishop McLaughlin (0-1), which got 13 points from Chris Overbecky, led 31-28 after three quarters.
Times staff writer Keith Niebuhr contributed to this report.