Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boys basketball: Gibbs sinks Lakewood late

ST. PETERSBURG — Barry Brown's statistical line in the box score was full of good numbers, with 13 points to go along with six assists and four steals.

But the Gibbs guard knew the best stat was the three of four free throws he converted. None were bigger than the two he made in the final 13 seconds to seal a 55-52 victory over neighboring rival Lakewood that gave the Gladiators an early edge for the top seed in Class 5A, District 8.

"It was a relief to get both of those free throws," Brown said. "I felt like I kind of redeemed myself."

Despite a 7-1 record, Gibbs knew their inability to hit late free throws had to be addressed. Critical misses at the line proved costly in a one-point loss to Daytona Beach Father Lopez two weeks ago and another series of misses forced the Gladiators to need overtime against Gainesville The Rock last week.

Brown played a critical role with some misses. But he never changed his aggressive play. Friday, he continued to drive to the basket and pick up fouls in the waning moments.

This time, he came through.

"It's something that we work on all the time," Gibbs coach Larry Murphy said of free throws. "We probably shoot at least 100 of them in practice. It's good to see where now starting to hit some big ones."

The Gladiators used pressure to create turnovers and easy buckets in transition for a 16-7 lead after the first quarter. The Spartans (3-5) battled back, cutting it to 24-21 at the half thanks to a late 3-pointer by Anthony Lawrence Jr.

In the third quarter, Gibbs went ahead 40-31. But Lawrence Jr. (17 points) and Jacobi Boykins (22) continued to score inside as Lakewood chipped away until the deficit was reduced to a point.

With Gibbs up 53-52, Brown was fouled and hit his free throws. The Spartans had a chance at the end but Boykins missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

"We knew it would be this kind of game, it always is with Lakewood," Murphy said. "They're so long and athletic that it presented problems for us offensively. But we were able to go on enough runs to win."

Green Devils run away

PALM HARBOR — Friday night saw a loss that would have hurt a lesser team. All it did was push St. Petersburg to greater heights in an 83-55 blitzing of Palm Harbor University.

Dayon Griffin was rolling toward another productive effort: 10 points, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots against the host Hurricanes in just shy of a half of action. But the senior suffered a left knee injury with 1:24 left when he was fouled making a layup. He was helped to the locker room.

The Green Devils (6-0) simply rolled their talented lineup into new roles and kept flowing like everything was normal.

"Guys rallied around Dayon at halftime," St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. "Instead of going to the locker room, they went to (him in) the trainer's room. This is a tight-knit, well-experienced team that stepped their game up."

With the Green Devils up 45-27 at halftime, senior Terrell Burney (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) slid into Griffin's role and ignited a 12-5 run with three baskets including a 3-pointer, plus an assist and a steal.

"I pass the ball a lot from the wing, I practice playing the point and I played some point last year," Burney said. "It's a role I'm used to and I was able to find guys for some good shots."

Kevon Woods (five assists) passed effectively and Provonsha Wells (16 points on 7 of 8 shooting) was nearly unstoppable. Add Ben Clare (18 points and 12 rebounds) and freshman Darius Banks (14 points, six rebounds and three assists) and the Hurricanes (3-4) didn't stand a chance.

"The scariest thing is that we haven't peaked yet," Blackwell said. "When we do, when the oil is running that machine well … that's the biggest thing, we're good."

Chuck Frye, Times correspondent

Boys basketball: Gibbs sinks Lakewood late 12/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494