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Boca Ciega, Lakewood fall in Hooters tourney semis

Rematch denied.

The 2000 Hooters Holiday Shootout won't end like it did in 1999 _ with Lakewood and Boca Ciega squaring off in a one-point thriller _ as both schools were defeated in Friday's semifinals at the Bayfront Center.

Boca Ciega lost 61-53 to Lexington, S.C., in a game not as close as the score indicates, and defending champion Lakewood lost 76-61 to Hialeah Champagnat Catholic in a game closer than the score indicates.

The Lakewood (8-1) vs. Champagnat (14-0) nightcap was a battle of unbeatens that was knotted at 42 midway through the third quarter. At that point, the defending Class 2A state champions jacked up their fast-break offense, scoring 12 in a row for a 54-42 lead.

Champagnat scored 31 points in the third quarter _ 6-foot-8 center Manuel Guzman had 18 of his game-high 29 in the quarter _ and led 64-48 with 3:50 remaining in the game when Lakewood rallied. The Spartans scored 10 in a row to cut it to 64-58 with 2:09 to go.

However, Champagnat, led by 6-4 point guard Martin Osimani (13 points, 7 of 7 free throws), a Utah signee, responded with the next seven points to finish it off.

Marcus Morrison led Lakewood with 17 points. Freshman guard Maurice Robinson had 10, and Kory Crumbley had 8 points and 10 rebounds.

"We played a good team and got beat," Lakewood coach Dan Wright said. "They attack your defense. They had a surge, and we went completely cold."

Completely cold described Boca Ciega (8-5) at the outset against Lexington (9-3), the defending 4A state champion in South Carolina. The Pirates trailed 15-4 after the first quarter and didn't find a rhythm until it was too late.

A 12-3 Bogie run cut it to 59-53 with 35 seconds to go, but the Pirates got no closer.

"If we'd had that kind of energy to start the game, it might have been a different story," Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said. "We're so young. It's a roller coaster ride."

Lakewood plays Boca Ciega for third place at 4:30 p.m., and Champagnat and Lexington meet for the title at 7:30 p.m.

Lexington likely will be without guard Demetries Summers, who sustained a knee injury against Boca Ciega.

HOOTERS GIRLS: Clearwater beat Cooper City 54-40 to advance to the title game at 6 p.m tonight. The Tornadoes will play Bradenton Southeast, which beat Boca Ciega 57-38.

Crusaders come up short

ST. PETERSBURG _ Keswick Christian kept it close but was denied in the final seconds when Joey Dunn was rejected on his three-pointer with five seconds left, giving Lauderhill Upperroom Christian a 76-73 win and the Keswick Christian Suncoast Classic title.

The contrasts were evident. Upperroom brought 360 dunks, behind-the-back passes and spectacular rejections. Keswick brought fundamentals, pick and rolls and high-percentage shots.

Led by Dunn (31 points), center Reed Rudge (10 rebounds) and James Wickham (four three-pointers), Keswick stayed close and was tied 45-45 at halftime.

Down 69-64 with less than four minutes left, the Crusaders went on a 6-0 lead in a 30-second span. Rudge tipped in Jon Wilt's missed shot. The inbound pass was stolen by and layed in by Robbie Dileo. Dileo then stole the ball and made a shot for a 70-69 lead.

After an Omar Osbourne free throw tied the game at 70, Tristian James took an outlet pass and flew high in the air for a dunk and a 72-70 Upperroom lead with a minute left.

Then Upperroom played keep-away until Wilt fouled Morris Johnson, who made both free throws to give Upperroom a 76-72 lead.

"We were here last year and didn't do so well and came back this year determined to play great," Upperroom coach Jimmie Butler said. "Making our free throws late and being able to come back when down has been our problem. But tonight, we were able to keep pounding at it."

_ ALEX LYNCH

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