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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Boys 5A-11 hoops: Spartans survive late run to claim title
By Chris Girandola, Times Correspondent
Published February 10, 2008
GULFPORT - Lakewood built a huge lead and then survived a furious run by Gibbs for a 46-44 victory and its fifth straight Class 5A, District 11 title.
After Gibbs guard Skyler Ford hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 41, Lakewood guard Reginald Reed hit 2 of 4 free throws to seal it.
Gibbs had a few chances to tie it, but Lakewood's defense prevented clear looks at the basket.
"It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it, considering we lost the (Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship) and we needed a trophy," said Mike Morrison, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Morrison was key in helping the Spartans build a substantial lead early, and they took a 27-15 lead at halftime.
The Spartans (22-3) padded the lead in the third quarter when Morrison made a layup and James Pope had a putback to make it 35-21.
But a timeout by Gibbs coach Larry Murphy and then a 3-pointer by Xavier Frazier led the Gladiators to a 14-4 run that stretched into the fourth quarter.
Frazier, who scored a game-high 18, hit two free throws with a little more three minutes left to tie the score at 39, and it appeared the momentum had swung in favor of Gibbs (18-8).
"It wasn't what we wanted to have happen, but we weren't about to let them take the game away from us," Morrison said.
Although the Spartans didn't hit a field goal in the last three minutes, they went 7-of-11 from the line.