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5A-7 district basketball: Springstead, Central fall in semis

OCALA — Ocala programs scored a clean sweep Thursday night at Forest in the Class 5A, District 7 semifinals.

Springstead, which had made the state playoffs the past two seasons, ended its run with a 67-42 loss to West Port in the first game of the evening.

The Eagles (12-13) got off to a solid start, tied 12-12 with the Wolf Pack after the first quarter. Leading scorer Will Hall (21 points) had nine points in the period, including a 3-pointer, but it all unraveled from there as Springstead succumbed to the pressure of West Port's backcourt.

"We just didn't play well tonight," Springstead coach Oliver Simmons said. "They didn't press us in either of the two times we played them earlier this season so we weren't expecting it, but that's no excuse. We should have been more prepared than we were."

The Wolf Pack (17-7) led 27-16 at the half and cruised behind the play of point guard A.J. Taylor (four points, 10 assists). The senior opened up easy baskets for Alec Jewell (19 points, seven rebounds, six steals) and Mike Kirkland (17 points, six rebounds).

Despite the outcome, Simmons deemed the campaign a success.

"In my eyes it's a great season," he said. "We doubled our win total (six) from last season, and our seniors are laying a foundation for everything we want to do from here on."

In contrast, Central played much better in defeat. The Bears fell 46-31 to top seed Forest, the defending district champion.

Central (2-20) tightened up its defense and was able to keep the game within reach the first half. The score was tied at 6 at the end of the first quarter, and the Wildcats (19-6) led by five at halftime.

"The kids really believe in each other, but as a first-year coach, the team hasn't had the luxury of an offseason program," Central coach Matt Zandecki said. "We couldn't limit them to one or two shots, and it started to cost us."

In the third quarter, Forest went on a run, mostly behind the play of forward Kimball Hubbard (14 points, 14 rebounds). Central's Willie Frazier was the lone Bear in double figures with 10.

5A-7 district basketball: Springstead, Central fall in semis 02/09/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 10:06pm]
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