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Rebels hand Warhawks their first defeat, 46-42

Robert Martin scores 20 points and grabs 17 rebounds as Dixie Hollins holds on to beat Seminole.

By ALEX LYNCH
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Dixie Hollins held off a late rally and clung to the strong inside play of Robert Martin to hand Seminole its first loss of the season, 46-42 on Friday night.

In the first quarter, it quickly became apparent Martin would be the key to a Rebels' victory.

Martin scored six points in the first quarter as Dixie Hollins (3-4) jumped out to a 14-6 lead.

Martin used his strength in the paint to collect 10 rebounds in the first half and finished with 17 to go with his 20 points.

"This was Rob's best game of the season," Rebels coach Tom Topping said. "He really has stepped up lately. He's been the missing ingredient. He's the catalyst, and over the past week, he has really stepped it up."

In the second quarter, Seminole (5-1) used a fullcourt press to stymie the Rebels' offense.

The Warhawks took a 23-22 halftime lead thanks to Matt Walker's three 3-pointers. Dixie Hollins stormed back in the first 2 minutes of the third quarter, scoring 10 unanswered points to take a 32-23 lead, but failed to score again until the fourth quarter.

That was when Martin again turned it on, scoring eight points and collecting seven rebounds.

Brian Caruthers chipped in with three steals in the fourth quarter to go along with his two points.

"I feel we're actually a team now," Martin said. "Over the last two weeks, Coach (Toppings) made me step it up. We've got a chance to go all the way."

Seminole had a chance to tie the game in the last 2 minutes but turned the ball over and failed to hit key free throws.

With 59 seconds left, Caruthers inbounded to a wide-open Martin, who laid it in for a 46-40 lead.

Topping was hopeful his team could come back after a slow start and win the district.

"We've got as good a chance as anybody." Topping said.

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