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Edwards' big plays rescue Marauders in final minute

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


CLEARWATER -- Marcus Edwards' next loss will be his last on a prep basketball court, but Thursday he helped keep his team alive on the strength of what is taking him to a college football career.

His hands.

The senior guard made two crucial steals and hit three free throws in the last 40 seconds to lift Clearwater Central Catholic to a 63-59 win over Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the regional quarterfinals, setting up a showdown with the state's top-ranked team.

The sixth-ranked Marauders (26-5) will host undefeated Melbourne Florida Air Academy Tuesday night. The Falcons (29-0) knocked off Mulberry 49-36.

"The first (playoff game) is the hardest to get by, everybody's kind of nervous," said Edwards, a South Florida wide receiver signee. "We just stepped it up all around, and fortunately my team set me up to get those steals."

After Edwards hit two free throws to put the Marauders up by three at 59-56, Cardinal Mooney called timeout. Then with 35 seconds remaining Edwards picked off the Cougars' inbounds pass and got it to Dominick Jarmula, who was fouled and hit two from the line to extend the lead to five.

Cardinal Mooney (18-14) responded with a three-pointer from Steve Young to again make it a one-possession game, and Jarmula hit one of two free throws to keep the lead at three, 62-59.

With 17 seconds left, the Cougars drove downcourt looking for a chance to tie, but Edwards picked Young at the three-point line, preventing the possible game-tying shot from going up. Another free throw from Jarmula sealed the win.

CCC got 15 points from Jarmula and Chris Zumwalt. C.J. Schmidt added 11. -- JOHN SCHWARB

Early cold shooting dooms Barons

St. Petersburg Catholic stormed back from a terrible beginning to get within 40-38 of host Immokalee in a Region 3 quarterfinal Thursday, but the Indians dominated the rest of the game to win 70-51.

Immokalee (25-4) will host No. 3-ranked Cocoa in a regional quarterfinal Tuesday.

Cold outside shooting helped put SPC (22-8) behind 12-2 after one quarter and 33-16 at halftime. Immokalee led 37-19 early in the third quarter when the Barons heated up, going on a 19-3 run to trim the deficit to 40-38. However, Immokalee quickly regained control and wasn't threatened in the fourth.

"We stuck together and made our run in the fourth quarter," Immokalee coach Damon Jones said. "We got the taste of blood back."

SPC's Chad Radosevich led all scorers with 16 points. Mike Martino had 12 points and David Lopez added nine. -- TIMES STAFF

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