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Chiefs oust top team

Since Chamberlain's last trip to the state semifinals in 1990, the Chiefs had won just one region playoff game.

In that same time, Clearwater, Boca Ciega and Largo had combined to win 39, make five trips to the state semifinals, play in three state championship games and win one state title.

But a funny thing happened on the road to Lakeland, site of this year's state championships.

Chamberlain clobbered Clearwater. Whipped Boca Ciega. And to cap the running of the gauntlet, knocked off Largo, ranked No. 1 in the state and winners of 20 straight.

Yes, that was a collective "Ouch" heard from across the bay Saturday night, as the Chiefs downed the Packers 56-55 in front of about 1,400 fans.

The game was played at Pinellas Park because the FHSAA determined the Largo gym did not meet the seating requirements for a region playoff game.

The Chiefs (27-3) face Port St. Lucie Wednesday at 4 p.m. in their first state appearance since losing the Class 4A title game to Miami High in 1990.

"Of course you always think you can get there, but I didn't really know if this might be a possibility at the beginning," Chamberlain coach Doug Aplin said. "But the kids, they got better every day."

Adding Kylan Robinson didn't hurt either. While Largo was focused on stopping leading scorer James Devlin - and succeeded, holding him to just a free throw after the first quarter - Robinson heated up at just the right time.

After Largo (26-3) broke a halftime tie with an 8-3 run to take its biggest lead at 33-28, Robinson shot the Chiefs back in the game with a variety of leaners and floaters, and also came up with two lay-ups after stealing the ball from unsuspecting Packers.

Robinson, who is headed for Miami on a football scholarship, looked like a running back bursting into the secondary every time he touched the ball. He missed all five of his shots in the first half, but scored 19 of Chamberlain's 31 points in the second half.

Largo coach Phil Price was impressed, considering Robinson did his work against a taller defender.

"He just kept shooting over him; he knocked us around tonight," Price said. "No. 30 was the MVP tonight for sure."

Trailing 55-54, Mo Lightburn's putback with 21 seconds left after a mad scramble near the basket gave the Chiefs the lead for good.

Largo had a few chances to win but couldn't get a shot off. The Packers turned the ball over with seven seconds left, and after Devlin missed two free throws with five seconds left, squandered another chance to win by throwing the ball into the stands.

Devlin finished with 10 points, and Brandon Jefferson scored 15.