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Warriors take another shot at Ocala Kingdom

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 13, 2001


CITRUS SPRINGS -- Each time Seven Rivers Christian played Ocala School of the Kingdom during the regular season, it found a way to lose -- a missed lay-up, turnover, blown assignment.

Something always derailed the Warriors, and as a result they were pinned with three frustrating losses that came by a combined eight points.

"We fell apart when we played them," Seven Rivers guard Frankie Squire said. "We didn't finish strong in any game. No one on our team feels like we've played a good game against them."

Third-seeded Seven Rivers gets another crack at No. 2 Ocala Kingdom tonight at 6 in the semifinals of the Class A, District 4 Tournament. A win extends the Warriors' season and likely would give them a shot at state-ranked Ocala Shores Christian in the final. Shoresplays fourth-seeded Cedar Key at 7:30 in the other semifinal.

"I think this is one of the strongest districts in Class A," Squire said. "We have three teams that will go out and compete against a lot of teams in the state."

The best of the bunch is Shores Christian. The Tigers (26-6), ranked third and unbeaten against district opponents, are led by guard Lorrenzo Morris (15.3 points a game) and forward Rickey Douglas (15).

Ocala Kingdom (16-6) went 0-2 against Ocala Shores, but 4-0 against everybody else within the district. It's led by forward Mike McCloud, who averages 12 points. Although Ocala Kingdom beat Seven Rivers (14-11) three times, only two of the wins came in district play. In the teams' most recent meeting, Ocala staved off a late Seven Rivers rally to win 45-42. "They're not that much better than us," Squire said. "The feeling is that it's only a matter of time before we beat them."

There's no time like the present. "I anticipate this game to look much differently than the others," Seven Rivers coach Greg Hamilton said. "We've prepared for them for two weeks. We realize this is a team we have to beat, so we've put in the time and we are ready to play the game."

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