Boys 6A-8 hoops: Plant City stays poised, moves on vs. Lakeland

By Sean Fitzgerald, Times correspondent
Published February 9, 2008

RIVERVIEW - Plant City pulled out a 45-41 victory Friday, edging Riverview in a game that was tight from the start.

The Raiders led 22-10 at halftime and continued to pressure the Sharks throughout the second half to preserve a slight lead. Plant City held a seven-point lead with less than three minutes remaining, but Riverview closed the gap with back-to-back 3-pointers by Wendell Soto and John Bowers.

Down the stretch the Raiders forced two critical turnovers and connected on 3 of 4 free throws. Channing Woodell came up big for the Raiders in the final minutes and led the team with 14 points.

"Our upperclassmen did a great job of leading the team and keeping the guys composed," Plant City coach Wardell Chambers said.

In the other semifinal, Lakeland crushed Sarasota 83-61. The Dreadnaughts came out scorching, making 13 of their first 20 attempts from the field. Lakeland never trailed and forced the Sailors into 22 turnovers.

Quinton Everett led Lakeland with 19 points while shooting 3 for 3 from 3-point range, and Richie Edwards chipped in 18.

Lakeland faces Plant City tonight in the district championship.

Sean Fitzgerald, Times correspondent