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Adjustments pay off for Mustangs

Northside Christian shuts IRC's top scorer down in the second half and wins the 2A-10 title.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001

LARGO -- Northside Christian coach Chip McAllister utilized halftime to its epitome.

It almost became repetitious toward the end of the second quarter, with Indian Rocks Christian's Gabe McMillen hitting three three-pointers to close out the half and the Eagles taking a 30-23 lead. But after the break, Ben Bailey played tenacious defense and a 24-8 third-quarter run by the Mustangs gave McAllister a Class 2A, District 10 championship in his first season with Northside, 60-48.

"He transferred here and struggled for part of the season, but it didn't matter," McAllister said. "He is the hardest worker on this team, and he gave us great defensive minutes tonight."

The Mustangs led by as much as eight in the opening quarter but watched McMillen come down the court on three straight possessions and hit from behind the arc. Indian Rocks carried the momentum into halftime with a seven-point lead.

"They came out and gave it to us defensively," IRC coach Joe Frost said. "They just outplayed us in the second half."

The Mustangs played a box-and-one zone defense, with Bailey on McMillen, to open the third quarter. McMillen scored only two points in the second half, finishing with a team-high 11. Brother Caleb McMillen finished with 10.

To compliment their defensive turnaround, Northside put points on the board. Deon Troupe, Lance Skipper and Geoff Patterson scored eight points in the third quarter. Troupe finished with a team-high 20 and a dozen rebounds. Skipper finished with 13 points.

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Clearwater Central Catholic (25-5) put the game out of reach with 34 points in the second quarter and led 52-27 at the half.

Chris Zumwalt led Clearwater Central Catholic with 18 points and four three-pointers. Marcus Edwards added 15 points, and Jon Simmons 12.

"I think all of the team played well tonight," Clearwater Central Catholic coach Bart Citro said. "The guys played very unselfishly and focused on the small things to get the win."


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