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Clearwater crushes Palm Harbor, 76-43

The Tornadoes make a halftime adjustment to coast to an easy victory against the Hurricanes.

By SAM STANTURF
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2001


CLEARWATER -- Clearwater slept through most of the first half, but reeled off a 37-11 second-half run to leave Palm Harbor University far behind in a 76-43 victory.

Forwards Jacob Loucks and Nick Miller combined for 33 points, punishing Palm Harbor in the post.

"I think we came out and tried to push the ball a little too much early," Loucks said. "But when we finally got things rolling in the second half and had a chance to run some of our set plays, we began to show what we could do on the court."

Guards Luke Postorino and Kyle Franklin began to feed the bigger guys down low, and it was Postorino's alley-oop to Loucks that kickstarted a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter and push the game out of Palm Harbor's reach.

"We were getting rushed on the outside and our shots weren't falling," Clearwater coach Rudy Coffin said. "So we started to slow things up and get some better looks inside. The strategy worked and I'm very pleased with the way we executed."

While Clearwater's dunks excited the crowd, a stellar defensive effort held Palm Harbor to just 18 points in the second half. Clearwater's tenacious zone allowed a mere field goal in the third quarter as the Tornadoes extended their halftime lead from five to 20 points.

"In the second half, we were able to bring out a stifling zone defense and limit their second-chance opportunities," Coffin said.

Palm Harbor and Clearwater traded leads throughout the first half as both attempted to find a groove. But with just under 5 minutes remaining in the half, Clearwater erased a 20-16 Palm Harbor lead and never looked back.

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