BLOOMINGDALE — Even though King hadn't lost a district game — on the court — all season, the Lions went into Saturday's Class 5A-8 district championship against Newsome wearing their blue road uniforms.
After having to forfeit four wins — three of them district games — for using an ineligible player, the Lions haven't lost a game in the new year.
And after King's 58-51 victory over the Wolves Saturday, the Lions could finally claim their place as the district's best with their first title since 2003.
"I think the blue jerseys helped us, they made us feel like underdogs," said King senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who scored a game-high 27 points to go with 14 rebounds, eight blocks, three assists and three steals. "It made us play harder. We didn't have a big head going into the game."
For King (20-6), it was their 18th straight win. The Lions haven't lost since Dec. 27, when they dropped the second of back-to-back games in the Tampa Hoops Classic and can tie the school record for wins with their next victory.
In a turnover-riddled affair, King broke open a tied game with a 9-2 run to end the third quarter. But Newsome (20-5) had one final run, cutting the lead to 52-51 after a 3-pointer by Samal Shepherd (17 points) with 1:36 remaining.
But King sealed the game from the free-throw line, getting three offensive rebounds off missed free throws to keep the ball out of the Wolves' hands.