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Boys basketball: Wiregrass Ranch 55, Mitchell 52

WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch coach Jeremy Calzone looked up and down his bench, his frustration growing with each missed jumper, his temper souring with every turnover.

"What team is this?" Calzone asked his assistants.

Their silence spoke volumes.

For two quarters, Calzone's Bulls looked like a shell of the team that battled talented Tampa Catholic toe-to-toe for four-plus quarters before losing in overtime.

So at halftime, Calzone stressed the basics. He told his team to hustle on every possession, move the ball on offense and, most important, tighten up its defense.

The Bulls heard his pleas and responded, overcoming a nine-point deficit to defeat Mitchell 55-52.

"I finally thought against Tampa Catholic this program had turned the page, meaning we're going to play hard all the time," Calzone said. "We were fighting that whole game. We came out … and I don't know what was in their head because it was almost like night and day. One of the hardest things about coaching high school is trying to figure out what's going through these kids' heads."

The Bulls (1-1) left Calzone exasperated by halftime, but they finally gave him something to smile about in the second half. Wiregrass Ranch scored the first two baskets to pull to within five then drew even with the Mustangs (0-2) at 36 entering the final quarter on Tanner Carey's free throw.

Wiregrass Ranch took a 46-42 lead with 5:19 remaining. But Mitchell wouldn't go away and pulled ahead 52-51 after a basket and free throw by Jake Driscoll (game-high 21 points) with 1:20 to go.

Carey was fouled on the Bulls' next possession and made both free throws to give his team a one-point lead. After an empty trip for Mitchell, the Bulls' Michael Chase was fouled and made two free throws with 18 seconds left.

Then Driscoll's 3-pointer as time expired hit the front of the rim before bouncing off.

"We played a diamond and one. I told them to guard the 3-point line and told (Kingsley Boateng) to chase (Driscoll)," Calzone said about the game's final play.

"I thought we did a good job. We talked about fouling in the huddle, but we just came to a consensus to play solid defense and get the game over with."

Carey led the Bulls with 14 points. Boateng added 10 and Rico Kerney nine.

Troy Blyden had 17 points for Mitchell.

Boys basketball: Wiregrass Ranch 55, Mitchell 52 12/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 10:51pm]

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