Boys 6A7 hoops: Sickles faces a familiar foe in final

By Rod Gipson
Published February 9, 2008

TAMPA - The district championship game is now a trilogy.

And Sickles is hoping for the same ending.

For the third straight season, St. Petersburg and Sickles will square off in the final. The Gryphons won both previous title games.

St. Petersburg held off Gaither 52-49 Friday night while host Sickles blasted Countryside 77-53.

"Our energy was really good," Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia said. "Our kids came out and set the tone. We were getting off good shots and the kids were knocking them down."

Sickles (18-4) had little trouble from Countryside.

The Gryphons had a double-digit advantage by the end of the first quarter and steadily built on that advantage the rest of the game. Even in the third quarter when the Cougars managed a 13-4 run to narrow the margin to 13 points, Sickles clamped down to retake a sizable lead.

Sickles had nine players score points, four of which were in double figures. Sophomore guard Jordan Davis led Sickles with 16, while Kelvin Daniels hit four 3s and finished with 14 points. Jared Johnson added 11 and Darian Conner scored 10 for Sickles.

Meanwhile, the Green Devils (16-8) trailed by three at the end of the third but put together an outstanding defensive effort in fourth, holding the Cowboys to just seven points. Plus, St. Petersburg got key baskets down the stretch from Gabriel Moton (17 points) to put the game away.

Though Sickles holds the district tournament edge over St. Petersburg, the Green Devils got the last win. The squads split their regular-season games, with St. Petersburg winning ton the Gryphons' home floor 48-46 with a buzzer-beater back in December.

Rod Gipson, Times correspondent