By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 31, 2000
TAMPA -- In the first two rounds of the Chamberlain Christmas Tournament, neither Gaither nor host Chamberlain had any trouble scoring. Gaither scored 60 and 75 points in advancing to the title game while Chamberlain put up 69 and 74.
So what caused these two high-scoring offenses to combine for just 83 points in the final? Solid defenses, sloppy play and cold shooters -- literally -- in the Chamberlain gym that saw the chilly temperatures outside seep inside as Gaither beat Chamberlain 44-39.
"We didn't really do too many things different," Gaither coach Dwayne Olinger said. "But the main thing was for us to control the tempo of the game. And it was kind of a cold climate in here today, so we knew that could affect the shooting."
It did affect the shooters, just not at the same time.
After a Marcus Russell three-point play gave Gaither (7-4) a 25-20 halftime lead, Chamberlain came out in the second half ice cold. The Chiefs (9-4) missed their first four shots and managed just four points in the quarter. That allowed the Cowboys to widened their lead to 40-28.
But then the Cowboys went cold. Led by senior forward Manny Hernandez and senior guard Tony Sica, Chamberlain made a run, outscoring Gaither 11-2 in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter. However, Gaither regained the momentum with, of all things, good shooting.
Russell made two free throws, and Kyle Kostyun hit a three-pointer and two free throws -- with 11 seconds left -- to put the game away. Russell led all scorers with 15 points while Kostyun added 13. Hernandez led Chamberlain with 13 points.
"I'm really pleased with our effort," said Olinger, whose team has won five in a row. "We played well on defense. We took control of the ball, and Kyle really hit some big shots down the stretch."
In the consolation games, Tampa Bay Tech captured third place by beating Riverview 62-53 behind Keeton Brooks' 18 points.
Blake earned fifth place with a 68-54 victory over Hillsborough.
ST. PETERSBURG -- After dishing the sweetest of assists, Dominique Redding smacked her seat on the bench. This game was not going to get away under her watch.
Behind 26 points from the sophomore, determined Clearwater claimed the Hooters Holiday Shootout title Saturday with a 58-55 overtime win over previously unbeaten Bradenton Southeast at the Bayfront Center.
Redding earned most valuable player honors after taking over the game late, scoring six points in the fourth quarter and five of the Tornadoes' seven in overtime.
"Whoo, boy. Wanted that bad, bad, bad," Redding said. "Everybody thought (Southeast) was going to come in and manhandle us. It didn't happen."
Actually, it did in the third quarter, when Southeast went on a 12-2 run to go up 40-29. But Clearwater (12-4) stormed back with a 10-0 run to pull within one. And midway through the fourth quarter, Redding hit two jumpers to put the Tornadoes ahead by one then fed Sarah May with a crowd-pleasing behind-the back pass for a layup and a 50-47 lead with 2:42 remaining.
Southeast took a timeout to regroup and, moments later, forged a tie at 51 with 25 seconds left when Depree Bowden hit a three-pointer from the right wing. Redding missed a jumper in the closing seconds.
Overtime failed to match the excitement of the closing minutes as Clearwater scored the first five points.
HOOTERS BOYS: Hialeah Champagnat Catholic took home the title, beating Lexington, S.C., (9-4) 67-51. Martin Osimani won the MVP for Champagnat (15-0).
-- JOHN SCHWARB