tampabay.com

Boys 6A-7 hoops: Green Devils face familiar foe tonight

By ROD GIPSON
Published February 9, 2008


TAMPA - The Class 6A, District 7 championship game is now a trilogy.

One that St. Petersburg hopes has a new ending.

For the third straight season, St. Petersburg and Sickles will square off in the final. But the Green Devils are hoping to change the outcome after the Gryphons won both previous title games.

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

"We withstood some adversity," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said of his team topping Gaither. "It's hard to beat a team three times in one season but we were able to adjust to what they (Gaither) were doing and get the job done."

The Green Devils (16-8) trailed by three at the end of the third but put together an outstanding defensive effort in the 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.

Meanwhile, 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 went on a 13-4 run and narrowed the margin to 13 points, Sickles clamped down to retake a sizable lead.

Sickles had nine players score points, four of whom were in double figures. Sophomore guard Jordan Davis led Sickles with 16 points.

Though Sickles holds the district tournament edge over St. Petersburg, the Green Devils got the last win, winning on the Gryphons' home floor 48-46 with a buzzer-beater in December.