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Lecanto, Crystal River advance to 2A-9 semifinals

Lecanto and Crystal River have advanced to the semifinals of the Class 2A, District 9 boys basketball tournament. Chris Sancrante pumped in 23 points Thursday night to power the Panthers to a 54-43 victory against Dunnellon. In the other opening-round game, senior forward Sandy Weaver and sophomore guard Anthony Porter each scored 17 points to pace the Pirates to a 74-48 victory against Brooksville Central.

Crystal River (12-13) faces No. 2 seed South Sumter (15-11) today at 6 p.m. Lecanto (3-25) meets top-seeded Wildwood (20-3) in the second game.

"Our kids did what we asked of them," Lecanto coach Gerry Miller said. "They played intelligently and with composure."

Sancrante hit six three-point shots in the first half before the Tigers (6-23) went to a box-and-one defense and contained him. The Panthers' guard had 18 points at halftime, but managed just five in the final two periods.

Casey Sanders led the Tigers with 12 points, all in the fourth period.

Central (10-16) employed a diamond-and-one defense for three quarters and kept Weaver, the tournament's top scorer, in check. He had eight points after three periods, but Angelo Nelson worked inside for eight points in the third quarter and Crystal River opened up a 37-21 lead going to the final period.

The Pirates spread their offense in the fourth quarter and Weaver was able to get free and score nine additional points.

"We played pretty good defense," Crystal River coach Bill Murray said. "We controlled the boards in the second half and that was the difference."

Junior guard Steve Hahn led the Bears with 14 points.