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Tue. January 5, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

John Sedlack usually often tell his players the same thing at the end of practice, "Buckle up and hug your mothers."

In terms of basketball, he warns of the three killers - turnovers, rebounds and free throws.

After piecing together a five-game winning streak, the Royal Knights have lost five in a row with a critical four-game stretch on the horizon. Three of them will be on the road.

And none of them will be won if River Ridge (5-6) doesn't correct it's free throw shooting.  

Poor free throw shooting wasn't always a problem Take a 44-26 win against Clearwater Central Catholic on Nov. 28 - the Royal Knights made 17 of 19. Then in a 41-40 loss to Zephyrhills on Dec. 18, the Royal Knights were 10 of 19.

"If you look at 11 games and you look at your team and say you could be 9-2, how mad do you get when you realize it's free throws," Sedlack said. 

Free throws have become such a mental issue, Sedlack rarely asks the kids to shoot them in practice. And when they do, he tries not to correct them.

Through it all, the kids have had a great attitude. Sedlack said he hands out an award annually to players with perfect attendance. Of his 12 varsity players, 10 have made all 40 workouts.

Even Sedlack's son, John, only won the award three times during his playing days.

"We've had a great attitude," Sedlack said.

igould@tampabay.com

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