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Basketball clubs 1-for-4 in finals

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2000


WESLEY CHAPEL -- Four Pasco County youth basketball teams played in the finals of the Winner's Tournament of Champions, with only one claiming a championship.

The 12-and-under East Pasco Wildcats won one of six divisional title games in the tourney Friday-Sunday at the Weightman Middle School gym.

Brian Smith scored a game-high 13 points in the Wildcats' 41-20 win over the Stewart Warriors. Bud Rice had eight points and Robbie Lewis, named the most valuable player in the 12-and-under division, added seven.

Brennen Grubbs led Stewart in that title tilt with 10 points.

East Pasco teams also finished as divisional runners-up in 13-and-under and 15-and under.

The West Pasco Predators advanced to the 14-and-under final but lost 64-38 to the Tampa Timberwolves.

Andrew Weatherford scored 14 points to lead the Predators and teammate Joe Hopper had 10.

NO CUPS: Two Central Pasco United Soccer Association teams qualified for the Florida State Cup in Cocoa Beach, but neither club advanced past the preliminaries.

The Under-16 Spartans went 2-1 while the U-15 Spartans went 1-2.

The U-16 team defeated Coral Springs 2-1 and rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Orlando for a 3-2 win, but it lost 3-0 to Town 'N Country. The Spartans would have advanced to the final 16 but were disqualified for playing an ineligible player.

Coach Craig Pearson, who coaches the Land O'Lakes junior varsity team, said Ryan Picou had received a red card while playing for a different club in last year's Florida State Cup, which made the Land O'Lakes JV goalkeeper ineligible.

Despite the ruling, Pearson said the team had nothing to hang its heads about, especially since the Spartans defeated Coral Springs, ranked 10th in the state heading into the tourney, on goals by Brian Bishop and Mike Fenton.

"I was completely impressed and unbelievably proud of them," Pearson said of the Spartans' win over Coral Springs. "It showed me they had heart."

Eric Martin, a Land O'Lakes JV player called up to the varsity late last season, netted both goals in the U-15 Spartans 2-0 win over Lakeland. Martin also scored in the team's 3-1 loss to Jacksonville.

SOCCER TRYOUTS: The U-16 and U-18 Spartans will conduct tryouts for next season June 11-12 at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex. The split seasons are August through October and March-June 2001. For information, call Pearson at 907-1759.

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