CLEARWATER - Countryside comes into today's Pinellas County Conference North Division title game with its guns still smoking. The Cougars' sharpshooters riddled Largo for a 72-52 win Tuesday night. Today, Countryside plays at home again, against Clearwater. The victor wins the PCC north and plays south champ Lakewood on Friday for the conference championship.
Against Largo (16-11 overall, 9-4 in the PCC) Tuesday, Countryside (20-6, 11-2) swished eight three-pointers, including five by Kenny King (19 points). The outside shots opened up the inside and center Andy DeClercq muscled in 21 points.
"We have good outside shooters. When we played (Largo) down there, we weren't making them," said Countryside coach Joe O'Neill, referring to a 73-60 loss to Largo last month. "Tonight, we made them. This was our best game in 10 games, especially on defense."
Countryside's man-to-man defense held the Packers to only three field goals in a 12-minute stretch as the Cougars went from a 24-20 deficit in the second quarter to a 54-35 lead with 5:42 remaining.
Largo, which had title hopes of its own before the loss, was led by Tyrone Mathis (18 points) and Gerald Jones (15).
Although the Cougars have a one-game lead over Clearwater (10-3), if the Tornadoes win today, they advance to the PCC title game due to a better regular-season record (not counting tournaments).
Today's game will also determine the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A, District 7 tournament next week.
Clearwater wins 85-65
CLEARWATER - Sean Pell's 20 points led three Clearwater players in double figures as the Tornadoes cruised to an 85-65 win over Pinellas Park Tuesday night.
Clearwater, 20-7 overall, is 10-3 in the Pinellas County Conference's North Division. The Tornadoes visit Countryside (11-2 in the PCC North) tonight in the regular-season finale to determine the North Division champion.
Pell, a 6-foot-10 center, was joined in the Clearwater scoring parade by forwards Marvin Jackson and Daryl Dixon, who had 18 points apiece.
Pell used his height advantage inside to score 12 points in the first half as the Tornadoes took a 42-34 lead into halftime.
"Hopefully, we're peaking right now," said Clearwater coach Rudy Coffin. "This is a good time to peak. Our inside game is really coming around."
Pinellas Park (7-17, 4-9) was led by forward Renaldo Graham's 15 points. Jessie Green added 10.
In other games
At Boca Ciega, Jonas Fredrikson lead all scorers with 17 points as Dixie Hollins (14-11) edged Boca Ciega (10-16) 49-47 Tuesday night.
Maurice McCullus lead the Pirates with 14 points.
At Dunedin, Adam Landeen hit a three-point play with seven seconds to go in the second overtime to give Seminole a 75-72 win over Dunedin.
Cyril Lyons added 23 points for the Warhawks.
At Lakewood, Spartan senior forward Louis Rowe led all scorers with 21 points as Lakewood edged Osceola 63-60. Senior center Patrick Bannister, junior forward Trevor Mallory, and sophomore forward Anthony Brown each added 10 points for the Spartans, who improved their record to 25-4.
At St. Petersburg, Antonio Lovett scored 22 points and Ben Gainer added 21 as Northeast surged by the Green Devils 84-63. The win improved the Vikings' record to 20-7. Gorka Saenz DeBuruage led St. Petersburg with 13 points.
- Correspondent Bill Gordon contributed to this report.