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: Largo slowly finding its way

Largo’s Curtis Reed drives to the basket against Clearwater. The Packers started slowly but found a rhythm during the second half. “All I ask for is hustle,” coach Phil Price says.


Largo’s Curtis Reed drives to the basket against Clearwater. The Packers started slowly but found a rhythm during the second half. “All I ask for is hustle,” coach Phil Price says.

CLEARWATER — Largo coach Phil Price understood the first few weeks of the season were going to be a work in progress. After all, the Packers had players transitioning from football and had to make adjustments for others who had transferred.

So Price has paid no attention to the missed free throws, the errant shots, the turnovers and the fouls.

All he cares about is the result.

On Monday, the Packers were able to overcome all of that, using their athleticism to overwhelm Clearwater in an 81-53 victory.

"All I ask for is hustle," Price said. "Nobody misses shots on purpose. This is usually the way we start. Eventually, we'll get things going a little more."

Largo (2-0) returned the core of its lineup from last season's team that advanced to the Class 6A region final. The two biggest components, guards Donavan Hale and Jonathan Crawford, are two-sport stars who had to wait until the Packers' football season ended three weeks ago before joining the team. The lineup also was bolstered by the addition of Brandon Jones, who transferred from Pinellas Park in the offseason.

But to become a cohesive unit, Largo stills needs time playing together. Against the Tornadoes, the Packers had trouble breaking away early. Missed free throws were a major factor. Largo started off just 3-of-10 from the line and finished 10-of-22 in the first half.

The Packers, who led 37-26 at the half, started hitting more free throws and converted more second-chance attempts in the second half. By the fourth quarter, Largo led by more than 20 and was able to use its reserves.

"We missed 17 free throws," Price said. "That can be tough. But we were still playing hard. The hustle was there, even when the execution wasn't."

Hale scored a team-high 15, including 7-of-10 on free throws, to lead the Packers.

"We started off strong but then we kind of lost it," Hale said. "It took a while, but we were able to get it back. It's a little bit of struggle right now because a lot of us are still trying to get back into basketball shape. I'm 0-for-8 on 3-pointers so far this season. It's just going to take a few games to get into a rhythm."

The Tornadoes made their season debut under Tom Shaneyfelt, the longtime girls coach at the school who took over the boys in June. Rasim Avmet led Clearwater with 15 points.

"There were a few things we did well that gives us something to build on," Shaneyfelt said.

Boys basketball: Largo slowly finding its way 12/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen


    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  3. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  5. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.