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Lions come on strong in the second half

After winning just 12 games all of last year, King earned its 10th win in just 13 games this season, beating Durant 47-25 on the road Wednesday night.

The

Cougars (3-12) entered looking to upset King (10-3) but took their only lead of the game 2-0 on Kristen Jones' jump shot. Both teams struggled to find some offense in the first half, combining for just six field goals and 18 turnovers. The Lions mounted a slim 12-10 lead at the half behind a strong inside presence from reserve Samara Shepherd, who went 5-of-8 from the free-throw line.

It took a strong lecture at the break from coach Eric Brooks to get his team on track.

"I got on them at halftime," Brooks said. "We're a decent team but we took them for granted a bit in the first. I told them if we think just because we have a better record that we're going to beat these guys we will leave here very disappointed."

The Lions answered the call in the third quarter, mounting a defensive effort that forced nine Durant turnovers. King defenders cut off passing lanes, producing three steals which led to six fast break points and a 8-0 run. Guards Charmaine Lawson, Wyshana Brooks and D'arra Williams each had more than five steals, with Lawson turning in eight.

While the Lions' trio of guards used double teams and quick feet to frustrate Cougar ballhandlers, senior forward Amelia Yates stepped up in the paint on offense, scoring seven of her team-high 11 points as King outscored Durant 20-5 in the third.

"Our plan in the locker room at the break was to take control of the game in the first three minutes of the second half," Brooks said.

Randy Olson led Durant with 12 points.

Boys: Free throws lift Yellow Jackets

TAMPA _ Alonso fought back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to pull even with Blake on Wednesday, but it just wasn't enough to finish the job as the Yellow Jackets rode excellent free-throw shooting down the stretch to beat the Ravens 86-79.

Charles Trigg had three 3-pointers and teammate Gilet Chevalier added two more for the Yellow Jackets in the first quarter but Alonso's Andrew Gilbert countered with 11 points to help the Ravens build a 25-22 lead at quarter's end.

The teams exchanged baskets to start the second quarter and when Alonso's Jonathon Ball finished a fast break with a thundering dunk, the Ravens went up 34-30. The lead was short-lived, however, as Chevalier led a 7-0 Blake run with two driving layups. Thirty seconds before the half, the Ravens' Hai Le hit a baseline jumper to tie it at 39 at the half.

In the first half, Alonso (7-7) stayed in the game by converting 15 of 19 free throws; Blake hit on only 5-of-7 from the line.

Strong work off the boards and good outside shooting by Blake after the break allowed the Yellow Jackets to build a 65-55 lead. Chevalier had 10 of his game-high 30 points in the third quarter and Blake (9-5) appeared to be pulling away.

But Alonso was not finished. The Ravens closed within three when Ball hit for 3 from outside the arc, then tied the score at 79 with 1:40 left on a basket by Brandon Williams. Moments later, however, Blake senior Kevin McCray connected on a jumper and when Olden Gordon sank both ends of a 1-and-1, the game was over. Blake's ability to convert from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter (9-of-10) secured the win.

Williams, Gilbert, and Ball had 18, 16, and 17 points, respectively, for Alonso. Trigg netted 20 for Blake.

_ JIM REESE, Times correspondent

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