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Nature Coast, River Ridge dispatch Pinellas foes

NEW PORT RICHEY — Nature Coast and Clearwater Central Catholic didn't let an hour-and-20-minute delay throw them off their game. The Sharks ultimately prevailed 50-42 in the Beef O'Brady's Thanksgiving Classic at River Ridge.

The delay may have been a favor to Sharks forward Mike Adams, who had a hot start.

Adams scored all but two of his 15 points in the first half and helped the Sharks (2-0) jump out to a 27-23 lead at halftime.

The Marauders countered with their own big man, 6-foot-7 center Paul Freedman. CCC (1-1) tried to make a run at the Sharks' lead after halftime and came to within 30-25 with 5:08 left in the third quarter after a Freedman layup.

Freedman finished the night with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Clearwater Central Catholic bottled up Adams the entire second half, limiting him to two free throws.

"It was getting very frustrating. But I knew my teammates would step up in the second half," Adams said.

Nature Coast got a big boost from senior point guard Jake Meier.

Meier hit two crucial 3-pointers in the third quarter and also helped push the ball around, as the Sharks only turned over the ball nine times throughout the game.

"Coach made it clear at halftime that the other four players on the court needed to step up," Meier said.

Friday's second game featured host River Ridge and Northside Christian (0-2).

Both teams battled back and forth in an intense matchup that ended in a free-throw contest, with River Ridge winning 67-60.

At one point the game looked out of reach for Northside but the Mustangs made an 18-point turnaround and took a 37-36 lead with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

Both teams exchanged baskets until the end, when River Ridge knocked down its free throws.

"I am really proud of our kids. They gave a great effort tonight and that has been something that we have been lacking," Northside coach Dave Madison said.

Nature Coast, River Ridge dispatch Pinellas foes 11/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 1:11pm]
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