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Land O'Lakes claims title

Land O'Lakes did more than just avenge last year's playoff loss to Gulf in the Beef O'Brady's Summer Basketball League semifinals Tuesday. The team returned to the court later that night and defeated Palm Harbor U. to claim the tournament championship.

Land O'Lakes (11-2) knocked off host Gulf 60-45 before taking a 50-38 win over Palm Harbor U. (10-3).

PHU reached the final after a 48-40 semifinal win against Hudson (5-7).

"We shot really, really well _ especially against Gulf," Land O'Lakes coach Dave Puhalski said.

Land O'Lakes made eight of its first 10 shots and led by 10 points at the half. Drew Weatherford led the team with 18 points. Logan Payne added 14 and J.W. Bryant 12.

"(Puhalski's) kids came out shooting lights out and some of their shots were not easy ones," Gulf coach Steve Feldman said.

Gulf (5-7) had three players account for the majority of its scoring in the loss. Joe Phillips had 20 points with Trent Kennison and Frank Diana each contributing 10.

In the tournament final, Weatherford had 13 points and Payne 10 for Land O'Lakes. Garrett Tyler led PHU with 14 and Everson Holmes added 10.

Two consolation games also were played Tuesday at Gulf.

River Ridge (1-11) got its first victory of the season, 48-43 over Central (3-9), and Mitchell (5-7) defeated Tampa Catholic (6-6) 39-30.

Feldman sought out River Ridge coach Bill Linderman to congratulate him after the win.

"I saw him in the corridor afterward and I said, "That weight has got to feel a little bit better off those shoulders.' And he said, "Oh yeah,' " Feldman said.

Drew Thomas scored a game-high 15 points in River Ridge's win while teammate Kyle Johnson had 12.

Mitchell benefitted from a bad stretch by Tampa Catholic, which has lost four of its last five games. Mitchell's Jason Weaver scored 12 points and Kyle Cregan 10 in the win. Tampa Catholic was led by Scott Collington's 13 points.

Rob Bethel had 14 points and Mo Maisonet 10 for Hudson it its semifinal loss to PHU. Tyler led the winning team with 16 points in that game.

Defending champion Ridgewood, 9-1 in the regular season, skipped the playoffs to participate in a camp at Jacksonville, North Carolina.

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