Boys hoops: Unlikely source rescues Central

Barrett Sheffield steps up when star Darryn Frazier facesa stifling defense.

By DAVID MURPHY, Times Staff Writer
Published January 26, 2008

NEW PORT RICHEY - Eric Hayes isn't sure the last time somebody wrote the following:

Darryn Frazier didn't lead Central in scoring.

Now, though, the Bears coach couldn't be happier.

Junior guard Barrett Sheffield hit four 3-pointers and scored all of his team-high 16 points in the second half as Central completed a season sweep of River Ridge with a 46-44 victory in Class 5A, District 7 action Friday night.

"We needed someone to step up badly," Hayes said.

That somebody was Sheffield, whose perimeter shooting and deft ball-handling helped Central (6-16, 2-6) overcome a frenetic River Ridge defense that held Frazier, the North Suncoast's leading scorer at 23.7 points per game, to 15 points.

Sheffield hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 40 with 2:42 left. The next possession, Frazier followed a miss by Sheffield to give the Bears their first lead.

"This is the first game I've felt it in awhile," Sheffield said. "I just felt it."

The game featured a chess match of sorts between Hayes and the man whom he succeeded at Central, River Ridge coach John Sedlack. The two defensive-minded coaches alternated schemes, with Hayes trying to put pressure on the Royal Knights' ball-handlers and Sedlack trying to negate Frazier.

With 1:28 left, Frazier forced a steal and scored on a fast-break layup to give the Bears a 44-40 lead. After River Ridge pulled to within two, Sheffield hit a pair of free throws with 37.7 seconds left to put Central up 46-42. River Ridge had the ball with 25 seconds left and down by two, but the Royal Knights (10-12, 0-8) couldn't get off a decent shot.

"It's kind of a chess match," said Hayes, who was hired two years ago after Sedlack retired after 18 years as Central coach. "With coach Sedlack, I expect that."

Central 46 River Ridge 44