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Tampa Hoops Classic: Lakewood takes its lumps; Clearwater cruises

Clearwater’s Okaro White goes up for a shot over the defense of Flanagan’s Khyle Marshall. White finished with 22 points.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Clearwater’s Okaro White goes up for a shot over the defense of Flanagan’s Khyle Marshall. White finished with 22 points.

TAMPA — For 32 minutes Saturday night, Lakewood played with tremendous energy, worked as a team, dove for loose balls, fought for rebounds and never quit.

Its reward?

How about a 75-32 beating from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony, USA Today's No. 22-ranked team, in the first round of the Tampa Hoops Classic at Plant.

"We got dominated," veteran Lakewood coach Dan Wright said.

Lakewood can at least take solace in this: The Spartans aren't the first team St. Anthony has taken apart, and won't be the last.

"We've got a young team," said legendary St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley, who has led the Friars to 24 state championships. "I'm pleased tonight."

St. Anthony's top two scorers — 6-foot-7, 255-pound power forward Derrick Williams (23 points) and guard Matt Rista (12) — outscored the Spartans by themselves. Complementing those two was a group of Friars (3-0) that was relentless on both ends, not to mention on the glass.

"We came in and ran up against one of the top teams," Lakewood guard Alvin Cunningham said. "They were better than I thought."

Lakewood (6-1), usually on the other end of such routs, didn't trail the whole way. But close.

At one point the Spartans, with no player taller than 6-4, led 3-2. It was downhill after that.

Williams had his way in the paint, using his chiseled frame to power inside for easy shots and big-time rebounds.

But as Hurley pointed out, his star, who will play for Richmond, had help.

"The other kids had to be able to come out and hit shots," Hurley said.

They did exactly that, much to the chagrin of Wright and his team, which got 12 points each from LaDarius Barnes and Dominic Lane.

"We'll bounce back," Wright said. "We always do."

Next up for St. Anthony is an 8 p.m. quarterfinal Monday at Plant against Clearwater, which also looked strong Saturday in an 83-55 win over Pembroke Pines Flanagan. The Tornadoes (9-3), winners of eight straight, got 22 points from power forward and Florida State signee Okaro White, along with 16 from guard Joey Nungester.

Despite the outcome, Clearwater coach Allen Carden wasn't thrilled.

Among other things, he was "a little disappointed with our ball movement," Carden said.

That said, the coach was pleased to advance and looks forward to challenging mighty St. Anthony — even after watching what it did to Lakewood.

"It's always good to showcase your program on the national stage," Carden said.

Also at Plant on Saturday, Gainesville Buchholz and North Port earned wins in the Florida Elite Series, which is being held in conjunction with the Tampa Hoops Classic.

Buchholz beat Newsome 42-38; North Port topped the host Panthers 40-31.

There are no games scheduled for today. Play will resume Monday with games at Plant and Tampa Prep.

St>> Anthony (N>>J>>)75
Lakewood32

Tampa Hoops Classic: Lakewood takes its lumps; Clearwater cruises 12/26/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 26, 2009 11:28pm]
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