Boys basketball: St. Petersburg 69, East Lake 59
EAST LAKE – In the final minute of the first half, Darius Banks caught an alley-oop pass from Serrel Smith and completed a two-handed dunk.
The highlight-worthy play also was a historic one.
Bank’s jam broke the previous school record of 1,823 points set by Carlton Bryant, a former standout for the Green Devils in the early 1990s. The points continued to pile up in the second half for Banks, who finished with 24 in a 69-59 win over East Lake.
“I wasn’t really feeling it until after the game,” Banks said of setting the career points record at the school. “It was just a regular two points for me. It meant something but just not in the moment.”
What mattered more was the win. The game was a rematch of last year’s Class 7A, District 10 final. Both teams moved up in classification to 8A but are still in the same district.
“This win was very big,” Banks said. “We’re 2-0 in the district and this one was on the road. Those are way better than wins at home.”
The game also marked the return of Smith, who missed the first two games of the season with a bruised knee. Smith helped take the scoring burden off of Banks. In fact, Smith led all scorers with 30 points.
The duo of Banks and Smith combined for 54 of the Green Devils’ 69 points.
“We’re nowhere where we want to be,” St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. “We have a lot of work to do. I just think that we had a little bit more than what East Lake had at this moment. I think they’ll be a whole different team when we see them again in January.”
The Eagles (1-2) were also welcoming the return of several football players whose season ended last week in the Class 7A region final at Venice. Without its full complement of players, East Lake split its first two games, losing to Palm Harbor University before rebounding with a win against Countryside.
On Thursday, the Green Devils (2-1) jumped out to a 37-19 lead at the half. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles started to connect from the outside as they cut the deficit to 67-59 in the final minute.
But East Lake could not get any closer.
Jordan and Breon Hillmon each had 11 points and Chad Kellmann had 10 to lead the Eagles.