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Spartans beat Packers in clash of area's best

A fourth-quarter drought by Largo helps Lakewood beat it for the second time this season.

By JOHN SCHWARB and KEN SMITH

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- A month ago, Lakewood put a dagger in Largo with an overtime buzzer-beating three-pointer for a victory.

Friday, Largo's demise was largely self-inflicted.

Behind a fourth-quarter blackout of near-Californian proportions, the Packers watched a nine-point lead and a chance to pull into a tie for the district lead vanish with a 70-64 loss at Lakewood.

Lakewood, No. 6 in Class 4A and No. 1 in the Tampa Bay Top 10, remained perfect in District 11 (15-2 overall, 12-0 in 4A-11). Largo, No. 7 in 4A and No. 2 in the Tampa Bay Top 10, (18-4, 10-2) likely will have to settle for the second seed in the district tournament.

After three quarters of terrific play inside and outside, including 14 points in the third quarter from guard Mike O'Donnell, Largo held a 56-47 lead entering the fourth. But after O'Donnell hit a jumper with 7:28 left, Largo's offense completely vanished, and Lakewood took advantage of nearly every Packers miscue.

After eight points in the third quarter, Kory Crumbley came off the bench with six minutes left and promptly hit a three-pointer. With that, two baskets from Marcus Morrison and four points from Kevin Dorsey, Lakewood manufactured an 11-0 run to go up 60-58 with 4:25 left.

Largo did not see the lead again.

"All of a sudden, a press (from Lakewood) that didn't bother us all game bothered us," Largo coach Phil Price said. "We just made some really bonehead decisions."

In the seven-plus minutes the Packers failed to hit a field goal in the final quarter, they turned the ball over nine times and missed a handful of forced jumpers.

Lakewood, on the other hand, found its stroke in the nick of time. After hitting just 4 of 9 free throws in the first three quarters, the Spartans converted all eight of their attempts in the fourth, including six in the final 43 seconds to thwart any Largo comeback hopes.

"We knew we weren't playing our game (earlier)," Crumbley said. "We weren't really playing together. Everyone was playing for themselves. (Largo) turned the ball over to our hands, and we just took it from there."

O'Donnell led all players with 27 points for Largo and hit five three-pointers.

Alvin Gunter added 16, and Billy McDade had 13. Eight players scored for Lakewood, four in double figures. Dorsey led the way with 18. -- JOHN SCHWARB

Barons rally for victory

ST. PETERSBURG -- Seventy-six seconds. That's how long it took for St. Petersburg Catholic to erase a nine-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter against Wesley Chapel on Friday. The Barons' frenzied comeback culminated in a 76-67 victory.

The Barons' Kevin Farrell began the comeback with a layup off of a steal. Then came the game's turning point. Wesley Chapel's Spencer Honeycutt was whistled for a technical foul after protesting his foul of Chris Davis.

Davis made both free throws, followed by Dave Lopez making two free throws. Farrell then completed a three-point play to tie it at 52 with 6:44 left. Six consecutive points by Davis helped the Barons stretch the lead to 69-60 with three minutes left. -- KEN SMITH

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