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Jesuit coach Goldman earns win No. 300

Jesuit coach Neal Goldman got his 300th career win this week when Jesuit beat L'Essor High of Alberta, Canada, 71-53, in the Father Lopez Invitational in Daytona Beach.

In 1987, Goldman won his first Tiger game with a victory over Springstead.

HOLIDAY DOINGS: Chamberlain won two tournaments, beating Tampa Prep in the City of Tampa Championship, 56-45, then capturing its own Chamberlain Holiday Tournament, edging Sickles, 66-65.

Against Blake in the City of Tampa semifinal, the Chiefs' Mortimer Lightburn scored the winning basket after teammate Brandon Jefferson stole the ball with five seconds left.

Jefferson and Lightburn combined again in the Chamberlain Tournament final when Jefferson forced an errant pass and Lightburn hit the ensuing basket with 10 seconds to beat Sickles. Sickles had rallied from a 61-43 fourth quarter deficit to take a short-lived one-point lead.

Look for Class 5A, District 7, which includes Chamberlain, to be a hotly contested race.

Wharton won the Outback Invitational and fellow district member Alonso beat Sickles in the Leto Invitational final.

Brandon, despite 30 points from USF-bound Zaronn Cann, lost in the Great American Shootout final in Kissimmee, 77-71 to Miami Dr. Krop, 77-71.

"He (Zaronn) is about 70 percent back from his knee injury, but he gave us 28 great minutes in the tournament final," Brandon coach Mark Hermann said.

MVPs: Chamberlain's James Devlin was voted tournament MVP in the City of Tampa Tournament, scoring 20 in the final. Armwood's Brandon Culpepper was chosen the MVP of the Bay Classic as he led the Hawks to a 58-49 victory over Las Vegas Sierra Vista in the final.

Wharton's Darryl Richardson took home MVP honors in the Outback Invitational, averaging 21 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.8 blocked shots per game for the Wildcats in wins over Berkeley Prep, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney and Admiral Farragut.


FRIENDS AND RIVALS: Plant went into Wednesday's semifinals of the Keeler Memorial Christmas Tournament at 9-1 and riding a seven-game winning streak.

But to extend it to eight the Panthers had to beat their South Tampa neighbors, Academy of the Holy Names.

"This is my third year as coach and when I came here I didn't understand the South Tampa thing," Plant coach Carrie Mahon said. "Most of these kids know each other and grew up playing summer ball together."

The familiarity wasn't limited to the players. Jaguars forward Kristina Darby's grandmother, Linda, is the secretary for Plant principal Eric Bergholm. Mahon, a friend of the Darbys, spent July 4 with the family.

Plant prevailed in overtime. The will to win was intense, much like when one competes against a sibling. Plant's Eriqah Butler had a noticeable limp. The game was stopped twice, once for Darby's injury and once for teammate Gianna Messina, who also took an incidental blow to the face (Darby was hurt on a move to the hoop; Messina was diving for a loose ball out of bounds).

Both received medical attention before returning _ Messina scored a career-high 34 and Darby was second on the team with 13 points.

Despite the level of emotion during the game, played from both teams embraced when the buzzer sounded.

"It's almost bittersweet," Mahon said. "I'm the most competitive person in the world _ I'd beat my 7-year-old at Candyland if I had a chance _ but I feel for them because they played so hard."

"I played with a bunch of them," Messina said. "It's fun to be in a game against people you know and like. I'll definitely be rooting for them to win the championship."

Plant did go on to win the tournament the next day by defeating Gulf. The Panthers rallied behind the inside presence of Butler, who scored eight of her 16 points in the fourth quarter on her way to tournament MVP honors.

NELSON MAKES PRESENCE FELT: Freedom, the only team to defeat Plant this season, captured the Beef O'Brady's Holiday Classic title at Armwood on Thursday behind an inspired Brianna Nelson.

The Patriots went on a 15-0 run to open the second half and defeated Armwood 53-49. Nelson scored a game-high 19 and was named tournament MVP.

_ JIM REESE and DAVID NORRIE, Times correspondents