Cotey: Sickles feels fine with Rembert at free-throw line

LAKELAND — All Rashawn Rembert does is make clutch free throws.

Okay, so that's not all he does.

There were seven other baskets, three from 3-point range. And the nine rebounds. And the game-high 27 points.

But at the line, Rembert is on a roll.

After sinking two late ones against Clearwater with 18 seconds remaining to send Sickles to the semifinals, the junior guard was clutch again in the final minute in Lakeland on Wednesday night, this time sending the Gryphons into tonight's Class 5A final.

Rembert made all 10 of his free throws, and was 4-for-4 in the final 36 seconds against Niceville, which was outscored 23-5 at the line.

"You have to knock them down," said Rembert, who combined with point guard Jordan Davis to make 22-of-28 free throws.

"We know when we step up there, we're doing it for a purpose. We're doing it for somebody."

That somebody could be the naysayers, who wrote off the Gryphons the day last year's 6-foot-10 McDonald's All-American, John Henson, graduated. But the Gryphons continue to surprise, winning 56-53 by once again playing top-notch defense and coming up big down the stretch.

After Davis missed two free throws to open the fourth quarter, he and Rembert combined to make the Gryphons' next 13. Niceville had little option but to foul Davis or Rembert, since Sickles was impressively efficient at making sure the ball was always in their hands in the final three minutes.

"I think down the stretch when you have the ball in the right players' hands it just gives you the best opportunity to be successful at the line," said coach Renaldo Garcia. "We practice a lot of free throws, but we're not the best team at free throws during the course of the game. In the last four minutes, I think the guys really lock in and they have been able to knock them down."

Cotey: Sickles feels fine with Rembert at free-throw line 03/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:25pm]

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