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Gryphons boys complete comeback as Berkeley Invite gets under way

TAMPA — Burly Sickles senior Eric "Moose" Taris never encountered much glory on the Gryphons' offensive and defensive lines, but he acquired plenty Monday on the free-throw line.

With no time remaining in regulation and his team down by one to Newsome, Taris (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) sank the second of two free throws to force overtime. Classmate Caleb Kamm then nailed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds to play in the extra session, lifting the Gryphons (12-0) to a 73-72 triumph in the opening round of the Berkeley Basketball Invitational.

"Real nervous," said Taris, a two-way Gryphons tackle. "Especially after that first miss. I had to really calm myself down and make the free throw."

Until Monday, such tension had been nonexistent for Sickles, which topped 10 of its first 11 foes by double digits. But the Gryphons had no answer for Wolves senior Samal Shepherd, who scored 14 of his 35 during an 18-5 first-half run that gave Newsome a 39-32 lead.

Newsome maintained its lead until Rashawn Rembert's interior jumper gave Sickles a 58-56 edge, the first of four lead changes in the final 2:15. Shepherd's basket with 34 seconds to play gave the Wolves (6-3) a 62-61 lead before a controversial sequence.

A loose ball near Sickles' lane resulted in a scramble — the possession arrow was in Newsome's favor — but officials ruled the Gryphons' bench had called timeout. That allowed Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia to set up for a final shot with 13.6 seconds to play.

A couple of Gryphons misses, including Kamm's baseline jumper that hit the side of the backboard, paved the way for Taris, who was fouled at the horn. Kamm's successful shot at redemption came from the right wing, giving Sickles its only lead of overtime. Ten seconds earlier, Rembert (25 points) fouled out.

"I just ran out real fast on transition and I think it was Jordan (Davis, 17 points) that got me the ball," Kamm said. "I knew it was going in as soon as I caught it."

In earlier action, Wharton (10-1) got 42 points from Damian Dixon and A.J. Astroth in a 67-62 win against Orlando Lake Highland Prep (6-2), coached by former Brandon High and Orlando Magic star Jeff Turner.

Sickles73
Newsome (OT)72

Gryphons boys complete comeback as Berkeley Invite gets under way 12/21/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 10:15pm]
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