Nature Coast Christmas Classic: Lakeland 81, Armwood 55


SPRING HILL – The season has been one of ups and downs for the Armwood Hawks boys basketball team. After starting the season 0-4, the Hawks won four straight games, including two straight to advance to the championship game of the double-bracket Nature Coast Christmas Tournament on Friday.

But against the Lakeland Dreadnaughts, some of the bad habits formed again and the Hawks found themselves behind and chasing, which is not what they wanted. In the end, however, the 81-55 defeat will be a good learning tool for the Hawks, according to coach Patrick Kelly.

"They killed us in transition," Kelly said. "We did a very poor job of getting back, stopping the ball and shutting down driving lanes."

Tournament MVP Luke Anderson notched his first triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks for the Dreadnaughts, while Dwayne McCalebb led the team with 27 points, many in transition.

"One (Anderson) is a helluva player," Kelly said. "I think he's the best player in this tournament. But he's not the one that built that lead, (McCalebb and Crishawn Butler) built that lead with leak out layups, slashing and getting to the rim. We knew (Anderson) was going to get his points. We couldn't let (McCalebb and Butler) do what they did. That can't happen. That's the reason it was a lopsided score."

The Hawks led 10-9 after one and 14-11 before Lakeland went on a 13-0 run. The Dreadnaughts (11-1) led 33-19 at the half and never looked back.
Ky'Llen Hymon had 16 points, while Chris Kirkland added 12 for the Hawks (4-5).

"We didn't shoot that great," Kelly said. "We got away from the game plan which was attack the free-throw lane.

"I'm proud of them getting to this point," he continued. "I wish we could have performed better in the championship but we're definitely moving in the right direction. We faced a helluva team. They're a good team but we're going to have to face good teams down the road. We're learn from it and get better."

Rick Brown, Times correspondent

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