The Spartans use a second-quarter surge to top Largo 79-61 to complete a sweep, and by a far bigger margin than in the other two meetings this season.
By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Fans expecting another vintage installment of one of the area's great prep rivalries -- Largo vs. Lakewood -- left the Dixie Hollins gym Saturday a bit disappointed.
The Spartans, however, were satisfied. Lakewood bolted ahead in the second quarter and never let Largo closer than six points the rest of the way in winning the Class 4A, District 11 title 79-61.
Lakewood (25-2), ranked No. 4 in Class 4A and No. 1 in the Times Tampa Bay Top 10, will host Bradenton Bayshore (19-12) on Thursday in a regional quarterfinal. Largo (24-5), No. 5 in the state and No. 3 in the Times poll, will travel to Bradenton Southeast (20-10) on Thursday.
Unlike the previous pair of nail-biters this season -- Lakewood came from behind to win both -- Saturday's game had Largo trying to overcome a double-digit deficit much of the time.
Lakewood's Kory Crumbley scored 14 of his 17 in the first half as the Spartans staked a 33-22 halftime lead. Largo made just one field goal in the second quarter, and the the half ended terribly for the Packers, as forward Tory Holmes (11 points) picked up his third foul with 35 seconds to go on a charge and earned his fourth on a technical foul.
Lakewood's 15-6 second-quarter edge came with leading scorer Marcus Morrison on the bench with three fouls. Morrison picked up Nos. 2 and 3 midway through the first quarter when he was called for charging and drew a technical griping about it.
Lakewood extended the lead to 45-26 midway through the third quarter, but Largo, playing without Holmes, who fouled out late in the third, rallied. Mike O'Donnell's three-pointer with 5:05 remaining cut the lead to 54-48, and two free throws from O'Donnell (team-high 22 points) made it 56-50 with 4:36 to go.
Morrison (17 points) scored the game's next seven to make it 63-50, and Lakewood sealed it at the free-throw line, making 20 of 26 in the fourth quarter, with Morrison a perfect 8-of-8.
"We are not a very good free-throw shooting team, so that was a plus to see them do that down the stretch," Lakewood coach Dan Wright said.
"Tory fouled out, we had a lot of subs in, and we pulled within six, so that was good," Largo coach Phil Price said. "We missed so many shots (in the second quarter), and we had decent shots. It just wasn't our night."
Last season, the results were reversed, as Largo swept Lakewood in their first three meetings before the Spartans beat the Packers in the region final.