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Seven Rivers is confident it can pull off another upset

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001


CITRUS SPRINGS -- Now that Seven Rivers Christian has cleared one major hurdle, the Warriors think they have momentum to get past another.

Saturday night at 7:30, Seven Rivers plays fifth-ranked Ocala Shores Christian at Citrus Springs Middle School in the final of the Class A, District 4 Tournament.

The Warriors got there by beating Ocala School of the Kingdom, 71-67, in Tuesday's semifinal. Kingdom was 3-0 against Seven Rivers during the regular season.

"I think (beating Kingdom) gives us momentum," Seven Rivers forward Bob Adams said. "I think it was just what we needed."

Shores Christian is an entirely different beast. The 26-6 Tigers, who defeated Cedar Key 70-46 in a semifinal, went 6-0 against district opponents this year and were 2-0 against Seven Rivers. Shores Christian beat the Warriors by 29 points at home in mid-January, then won by 12 points two weeks later in Lecanto.

"We'll have to play well to beat Shores," Seven Rivers coach Greg Hamilton said. "We feel like we can compete with them.

"Last year, we played them three times in the regular season and were blown out all three times," Hamilton said. "In the finals (of the A-4 tournament), we led them by 15 points in the first half before losing by two."

To beat Shores Christian, the Warriors will have to neutralize the Tigers' height. Shores Christian has three players 6-foot-5 or taller. Seven Rivers has one.

The Tigers' are led by guard Lorrenzo Morris (15.3 points per game), and 6-5 guard/forwards Ricky Douglas and Steve Mullins.

"Shores has a lot of physical ability, plus they go seven or eight (players) deep," Hamilton said.

"The key to the game for us is staying out of foul trouble. They hit the boards very hard, and they finish well. We need to keep them out of transition and win the boards."

Seven Rivers (15-11) does not have Shores Christian's depth, but the Warriors do have one of the area's best starting lineups.

Senior guard Frankie Squire, a four-year starter, is the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,237 points. He averages a team-best 14.8 points a game. Forwards Bob Adams and Shawn Allen, guard Chris Roth and center Chris Toms are each capable scorers as well.

"I've got a lot of confidence in my team," Hamilton said. "A lot of these kids came up through the program, and they know what it takes to win, to beat teams of this caliber."

Win or lose, Seven Rivers is headed to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

But after six losses in two years to Shores Christian, the Warriors would like nothing better than to end their drought and claim the program's first district title in one swoop.

"Everybody is going to have to have their A-game," Adams said. "But I think they're beatable."

Class A, District 4 Final

WHO: Ocala Shores Christian vs. Seven Rivers Christian.

WHEN: Saturday night, 7:30.

WHERE: Citrus Springs Middle School.

KEY PLAYERS: Shores Christian -- Ricky Douglas, G/F; Stephen Mullins, G/F; Lorrenzo Morris, G. Seven Rivers Christian -- Bob Adams, F; Shawn Allen, F; Chris Roth, G; Frankie Squire, G; Chris Toms, C.

QUOTABLE: "Rebounding and turnovers are two key factors for us. This will be our third time playing them, so we know what they like to do and they know what we like to do. It's really going to be a matter of which team executes." -- Shores Christian coach Doug Davison.

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