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Rams fall in title game


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 30, 2000

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Jason Williams' reverse layup highlighted King's role reversal against Ridgewood in the second tournament final between the teams in the past three seasons.

That shot clinched King's 41-36 win Friday in the Port Richey Rotary William G. Hulton Ram Classic championship game. Ridgewood narrowly defeated King 39-38 in the 1998 title game.

"It was as close as the score indicated," Ridgewood coach Gary Anders said of Friday's game.

The Lions (9-2) led most of the way. But the Rams (8-4) went on a 6-0 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 30-25 lead with 6:26 left in the game.

Dustin Hunter made all seven of his free throws in the fourth quarter to close the gap, and Williams' layup lifted King to a 37-36 lead with 26 seconds left.

Anders' son, Joe, whose two free throws had given Ridgewood a 26-25 lead in the third quarter, missed a free throw with 20 seconds left. Chris Halkitis fouled Hunter, who made two free throws, before Richard Blocker stole the ball and punctuated King's win with a dunk at the buzzer.

"He's one of our best free-throw shooters, so we're glad they fouled him," King coach Jon Mackey said of Hunter.

"We didn't make some plays that we needed to make down at the end," coach Anders said.

Ridgewood's Donny Lotz scored a game-high 11 points while Anders had 10. Blocker led King with 10 points while Williams scored eight. Davies County, Ky., won the third-place game 53-50 in overtime over Lakeland Jenkins. Pasco won its only game in three tries 53-52 over Lecanto. Kenny Roberts, who led the Pirates with 11 points, hit a layup with one second left.

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