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Basketball: Gators shut down stunned Wildcats
What both coaches thought would have been a close game turned into a 21-point win for Land O'Lakes' boys.
By MIKE CAMUNAS, Times Correspondent
Published December 5, 2007
LAND O'LAKES - This unexpected for Wesley Chapel coach Doug Greseth.
The Wildcats had just fallen to district foe Land O'Lakes 74-53 on Tuesday night, in a game that basically defined the No. 2 team behind Ridgewood in Class 5A, District 7.
It was also a game that should not have been decided by a 21-point margin, which is especially true in Greseth's mind.
"I was expecting a game that was going to go right down to the wire," Greseth said. "But obviously it didn't even come close to that.
"We just do things mentally and make poor decisions that kill us. We did not come ready to play (Tuesday night) for whatever reason. We had zero patience on offense.
"I'm just shocked how badly we played. I really am."
Wesley Chapel (5-2, 1-1) started strong, taking a quick 6-2 advantage, but that would be the only lead for the Wildcats. The Gators (5-1, 2-0) countered with Jerome Harrison, who came off the bench to score a game-high 27 points.
The senior, who missed the Nov. 28 game against Hudson due to violation of unspecified team rules, had a 3-pointer and went 13-of-14 on field-goal shooting.
Harrison was also a little banged up and a gametime decision.
"He had hurt his wrist playing football, and he fell at the Rec (Center) playing basketball," Land O'Lakes coach David Puhalski said. "He was real tender yesterday at practice and shot everything left-handed. We didn't think he was going to play (Tuesday night), but he said he could go."
Land O'Lakes also had strong outings from P.J. Potts and Mike Espinosa, who had 14 and 11 points, respectively. Potts was 6-of-7 shooting, while Espinosa added six blocks.
The Wildcats were led by Greg Jenkins, who scored 17 on 5-of-12 shooting and a 3-pointer. Michael Koesling added 13 points and seven rebounds, while Ladarius Manora contributed 10.
However, Wesley Chapel shot just 18-of-35 inside the paint and 2-of-13 from 3-point range, including Jenkins and Manora, who went a combined 1-of-10.
"I'm very disappointed (with Tuesday night's game)," Greseth said. "I've got a lot of players back from last year and we did not execute what we wanted to execute, we got outhustled - I really can't think of anything we did well."
Greseth also had no answer on how to rebound from this game, which is not promising as the Wildcats host the Rams on Friday.
Puhalski nearly echoed Greseth, figuring this would have been a close game with "probably one of the better teams we've played."
"I thought they'd make a big run like they did when we were up 15 last year, and they came back to beat us," Puhalski said. "I thought for sure they would come back."