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Chamberlain fights off Plant's best efforts in the semifinals, will face Tampa Prep in the final.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published December 22, 2007
TAMPA - When asked after Friday night's game against Plant in the semifinals of the City of Tampa Championship to pick the word that best described his team's energy level, Chamberlain guard Dantavis Adkins took a deep breath, then paused for a moment before answering.
"Drained," Adkins said.
His choice was understandable.
Just minutes earlier, Chamberlain had emerged with a dramatic 62-57 four-overtime win that was physically taxing for the players and mentally grueling for everyone else in the gym.
"I've never seen anything like it," Chiefs coach Doug Aplin said.
"This is my 30th season at Chamberlain," Aplin said. "I've never had a four-overtime game. I've had some triple-overtime ones, but none that went to four."
The victory vaults Chamberlain 9-2 into tonight's 7:30 final against tournament host Tampa Prep, which beat Hillsborough 61-30 in the other semifinal. Plant, which defeated the Chiefs by nine last week, fell to 9-1.
In the final overtime, the Chiefs went ahead by five with 1:22 left after getting a layup from Matt Kendrick and an Adkins 3-pointer. Plant closed to within 60-57 on two Sheldon Cooley free throws, but Adkins, who scored a game-high 23, iced it by sinking two foul shots with 26 seconds on the clock.
In each of the two previous overtime periods, Plant seemed poised to win.
The Panthers led by six with 1:05 to play in overtime No. 2 before Chamberlain, thanks largely to two steals, scored six points in 17 seconds to tie it up.
In the third overtime, Plant built a 54-50 lead with 1:30 remaining, but the Chiefs chipped away and knotted the game at 54-all on two Dontae Aycock free throws.
"I don't think there's a kid in our locker room or their locker room that isn't tired," Aplin said.
Tampa Prep will be playing in the tourney final for the fourth time. The Terps are 0-3 in their previous championship game appearances.
For Tampa Prep (8-1), it was smooth sailing Friday night.
In winning their sixth straight game, the Terrapins, who got 16 points from David Waller, controlled the tempo from the start, built a substantial lead early and were able to get everyone on the court. The game lasted about half as long as the other semifinal, meaning Tampa Prep should have the fresher legs tonight.
"I don't know if it will help us (today), but it can't hurt," Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said.