By STEVE LEE
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 28, 2000
NEW PORT RICHEY -- The Clearwater-Ridgewood game looked like an even match -- on paper, anyway.
Not so on the court.
Both teams had played in tournaments last week, and both had six wins entering Wednesday's first round of the Port Richey Rotary William G. Hulton Rams Classic. But host Ridgewood overcame an early six-point deficit and cruised to a 64-42 win.
The Rams (7-3) play Davies County, Ky., at 7:15 in today's winner's bracket semifinal. In the other semifinal, King plays Lakeland Jenkins at 5:30. In the loser's bracket, Pasco faces Fort Myers Cypress Lake at 2 and Clearwater meets Lecanto at 3:45.
"No matter who we're playing, I'd rather be playing in the winner's bracket than the loser's bracket. That's the main thing," Ridgewood coach Gary Anders said.
Mike Beck had two layups, and Tyler Miller and Luke Postorino hit three-pointers to help give the Tornadoes a 13-9 lead in the first quarter. But a Donny Lotz layup early in the second quarter gave the Rams a 20-19 lead, and Clearwater did not get closer. Ridgewood, which went 1-2 at the Dr. Alpern tournament, outscored Clearwater 30-10 in the second quarter to take a 39-23 halftime lead.
The Rams had four players in double-figures, with Lotz scoring a game-high 17 points. Postorino and Beck had nine points for the Tornadoes. Clearwater, which placed third last week in the Time Warner tourney it hosted, also lost the battle at the free-throw line. The Tornadoes converted 10 of 20 while the Rams made 13 of 19.