Boys basketball: Wacky play helps give Tornadoes the edge

By Chris Girandola
Published January 26, 2008

LARGO - Talk about wacky.

It's a play that just might end up on YouTube.

Early in the first quarter, with Largo holding a 7-6 lead over Clearwater, Tornadoes guard Regan O'Rourke stole the ball and raced downcourt, only to be caught and apparently fouled by a Packers player in the lane.

The wacky part came when O'Rourke stumbled and in the midst of falling, somehow flipped the ball at the basket. The ball went up from underneath through the hoop, hit the backboard and came back down through the basket. The referees ruled the shot good and awarded O'Rourke a free throw, sending Largo coach Phil Price into a frenzy.

Price was called for a technical, and the momentum abruptly switched to Clearwater, which took a 10-7 lead on the next play. The Tornadoes never looked back on their way to a 90-75 win.

"As talented as they are, the last thing we need is to have crazy things like that go against us," Price said. "We have to almost play a perfect game to beat them, and when they have guys like Luke (Loucks) and Adam (Pegg) and then they have other guys step up in the first half like they did and we have that swing happen to us, then it's just real tough for us."

The Tornadoes had four players reach double figures: Pegg had 24, O'Rourke 22, Loucks 19 and Sean O'Brien 12.

O'Rourke did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 15, as the Tornadoes (19-2, 11-1) tried to pull away from the Packers (18-4, 9-4).

Sophomore guard Ben Patrick led Largo with 28 points and, at one point in the first half, sank six straight baskets.

The Tornadoes led 40-33 at halftime and stretched the lead to 11 by the end of the third quarter.