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5A region basketball: Northeast 65, Clearwater 64

CLEARWATER — Nearly a week removed from upsetting Boca Ciega in the district semifinals, Northeast was at it again.

The Vikings stunned Clearwater 65-64 in a game that featured a buzzer-beating tip by Andres Sanchez to send Northeast to the 5A region semifinals.

Northeast hasn't won a playoff game since 1996.

"(Sanchez) is a player," said Northeast coach Dave Redding. "He doesn't like to lose and he does the right thing usually at the right time."

Nine lead changes and four ties highlighted the back-and-forth affair.

Down 10 with three minutes remaining, Northeast chipped away. Patrick Mitchell nailed a 3-pointer that cut the lead to two. The Vikings applied pressure and forced the Tornadoes into an over-and-back call with 37 seconds left.

Sanchez hit a 10-foot jumper to tie the game at 63 with 17 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds, Clearwater's Jon Hogan drove to the basket and was fouled, hitting the first free throw but missing the second. Mitchell took the rebound and drove up the court. He evaded a defender, jumped 5 feet from the basket and shot but missed. Sanchez was in the right place at the right time.

"I saw we had an open look so I went and crashed the boards and luckily the ball came off at the perfect angle and right into my hands," said Sanchez, who finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds.

The Vikings finished on an 11-1 run.

"We weren't smart down the stretch," said Clearwater coach Allen Carden. "That was a microcosm of the game right there, not boxing (Sanchez) out."

5A region basketball: Northeast 65, Clearwater 64 02/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2011 12:12am]
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