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A recap of the boys hoops season, and a look ahead

10 thoughts and observations about the end of basketball season, with Lakewood nearly giving coach Dan Wright his third title before falling to Dillard 61-55.

By John C. Cotey, High Schools Columnist
Published March 1, 2008


10 thoughts and observations about the end of basketball season, with Lakewood nearly giving coach Dan Wright his third title before falling to Dillard 61-55.

1. The Spartans had a nice little 47-42 lead before Dillard's Javier Frazier decided to play some of the best man-to-man defense you've ever seen. He completely befuddled the Spartan point guards, turning three straight possessions into turnovers and leading to a tie game. Lakewood never recovered.

2. Dan Wright thought his boys got worn down. Hard to argue when Dillard was missing three free throws while leading 51-47 and kept grabbing the rebound, eventually leading to a dunk.

3. Dillard had a huge size advantage, so it was paramount that Lakewood's 6-foot-9 Mike Morrison have a great game. Or at least a good one. Heck, Lakewood would have settled for an average one. But Morrison could barely get up and down the court without getting a foul along the way. He was sorely missed during the late collapse.

4. For those keeping track at home, the Morrison household now has three gold medals (Marcus got one in 2002, Sean got two in 2002 and 2005) and two silvers (Mike each of the past two seasons).

5. Freebies. Wright bit his tongue at the post-game interview, but we'll assume he was pretty displeased at this: Dillard outscored Lakewood 28-5 from the line, including 16-0 in the second half. The Spartans were called for 31 fouls; the Panthers were whistled for 14.

6. Freebies, Part II

Dillard's free-throw percentages coming in were pretty atrocious, so what to make of Nigel Spikes (50.6 percent on the year) making all six of his?

7. Shamon Cox. The Lakewood junior could be next year's Player of the Year. After transferring from St. Petersburg where he was a fearless scorer and struggling to fit in to Wright's team-first, shoot-second mentality, he was the Spartans' best player down the stretch.

Against Dillard, he was about five minutes from becoming the Class 5A tournament MVP. He had 10 points, hit a number of key shots and his three steals and gritty play were keys to Lakewood's success. (He finished with 14 points.) "Next year," said Morrison, "he's going to be a problem."

And he meant that in the best way possible.

8. Wright is still stuck on two titles. He's tied with Dixie Hollins' Roy King, Gibbs' Freddie Dyles and Clearwater Central Catholic's Gary Zimmerman for tops in Pinellas County.

9. This year's tournament marks the 75th anniversary of the only boys hoops title St. Petersburg ever won. Who can forget that 21-13 win over Plant at the old Florida gym?

10. Assuming Cox returns, as well as sophomore Dominic Lane, I'm comfortable putting Lakewood No. 1 to start next season. I like Clearwater No. 2, Bogie No. 3, Gibbs at No.4 and Pinellas Park to round out my top 5.