5A-8 district basketball: Durant 52, Plant City 36; East Bay 56, Newsome 51

PLANT CITY — Durant advanced to the final of the Class 5A, District 8 tournament by thrashing Plant City 52-36 on the Raiders' home court Wednesday.

The Cougars opened the game with an 11-0 run fueled by senior forward Andre Nation, who finished with 26 points.

"He's player of the year in the county in my opinion," Cougars coach Trent Tice said. "He dominates for us. Every game he puts up 20-plus points, a handful of rebounds and a couple of blocked shots."

The Cougars forced several turnovers and made it difficult for Plant City to hit its long-range shots. They also kept them off the foul line, as the Raiders took just five free throws for the game.

"We got a lot of size, and we're making high school kids make shots," Tice said. "Teams are going to make a few on us, but if we make them take tough shots all game long we're keeping points off the board."

The Cougars will meet East Bay in Friday's final after the Indians edged Newsome 56-51.

East Bay extended a three-point halftime lead to 18 by hitting five of six 3-pointers early in the second half.

"We've talked all year about how we come out of the half because it's something that we've struggled with," East Bay coach Billy Teeden said. "We didn't play with any fear; I loved it."

5A-8 district basketball: Durant 52, Plant City 36; East Bay 56, Newsome 51 02/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011 12:52am]

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