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Springstead still perfect; King battles back for win

SPRING HILL — Another formidable opponent visited the Springstead gymnasium Tuesday night. Another opponent fell to the Eagles.

Springstead maintained its undefeated record with an impressive 69-63 victory over Land O’Lakes.

The Gators (13-9) put up a good fight thanks to strong interior play from center Quentin Bastien. Working the offensive boards and the low post, Bastien was able to score 17 and grab 18 rebounds. Defensively, he did a good job of controlling the paint with four blocks.

The Eagles (22-0) continued winning with the same trends that have been staples all season. Springstead drew more fouls and was able to score off turnovers and fastbreak points. By comparison, the home team finished with 16 steals to the Gators’ six.

“We do a good job of negating the other team’s size by playing good position defense,” Springstead coach Pat Kelly said. “We did that and picked up the pressure in the second half.”

Springstead center Isaiah Mason, who came in as the Eagles’ leading scorer averaging more than 20 points , led all scorers with 30. Point guard Dante Valentine, who has taken a true leadership role on the squad, was all over the floor with 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals.

“It really doesn’t matter who we play against,” Valentine said. “The most important thing is that we play our game.”

A late charge by Land O’Lakes came up short as the Gators leaned on their bench to shoot them back into the contest. Shooting guard Ryan Harris accommodated his teammates by scoring 14 with four 3-pointers, all in the second half.

King 58, Bloomingdale 50: King has a veteran roster and a hungry bench. Once the Lions slipped into a double-digit deficit it was time to see if all the practice and speeches meant a thing. Did King have the grit not only to come back, but to do it on a powerful opponent’s court such as Bloomingdale.

King made its move late in the third quarter, piecing together an overpowering 12-0 run en route to a win on the road.

Lions forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had a game-high 24 points while guard Chauncey Day scored 11 and forward Andrew Donaldson scored 10. Bloomingdale was led by senior Joe Raga and his 18 points.

King (14-6) is second in Class 5A, District 8 followed by Bloomingdale (15-7), which has lost four of its past seven.

“Our kids picked up their defense and started working a lot harder,” King coach Sam Lanier said. “… Our guys played real well down the stretch. We were able to pull it out. They’re a good team.”

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

Lakewood 57, Bogie 54: For nearly three quarters, Boca Ciega had Lakewood on the ropes. Then the Spartans turned up the heat.

Using its suffocating, pressure defense, host Lakewood came through when it counted.

The pivotal moment came with the Pirates clinging to a five-point lead with three minutes left in the third. That’s when the Spartans started forcing turnovers — and making shots — to score the final 12 points in the quarter. “We led for most of the game, but end of the third quarter was a debacle for us,” Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said.

Lakewood (18-2), which went into the fourth quarter ahead 46-39, maintained a lead the rest of the way. The Pirates (15-4) had a chance to tie but missed a 3-pointer as time expired.

Myron Dempsey led Boca Ciega with 17 points. Shamon Cox had a game-high 15 for the Spartans.

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Springstead still perfect; King battles back for win 01/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:52pm]
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