ST. PETERSBURG — Success in Boca Ciega's rivalry with Lakewood is often deemed in the same light as snarled traffic with starts and stops and spurts. The Pirates are able to keep pace and make a run. But they usually fall short.
This time, though, Boca Ciega (21-6) showed enough grit and resolve, posting a 72-69 overtime victory Saturday in the Class 5A, District 11 final. It was the Pirates' biggest win of the season — and their first against Lakewood (22-5) in more than five seasons.
"I'm just proud of the way the guys were able to keep battling and find a way to break that streak," Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said.
The game was close the whole second half. In the final nine seconds of regulation, the Spartans' Dominic Lane grabbed a loose ball and hit a field goal that tied it at 63 and forced overtime.
The pivotal moment in overtime came when Myron Dempsey drove hard to the basket, made a layup and was intentionally fouled with seven seconds left.
Dempsey missed his free throw, but teammate Julius Forte was fouled and made both free throws to seal the win.
"I just knew I had to go real strong at the end and try to make a basket," Dempsey said. "This was big for us. Hopefully, it's just the beginning."