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Oldsmar Chr. falls to rival from south

He was once Indiana's Mr. Basketball and a professional first-round draft pick. Over the past six seasons, he has specialized in putting high school players in the right places.

But when it came time for coach David Magley to pass some sage advice onto his Bradenton Christian Panthers during halftime of Saturday's Region 3 championship game, he merely offered reassurance that things would be all right.

They were.

On the strength of a dominant second half, the Panthers overcame a wobbly start and defeated Oldsmar Christian 62-54, giving BCS its second regional title in three years.

Oldsmar Christian, advancing further than it ever has, finished 19-7. For the second straight year, it couldn't get past BCS.

Last season it needed a furious second-half rally to force overtime in a loss. Saturday, the Panthers pulled away with a big second half.

Oldsmar Christian's aggression and athleticism forced eight first-half turnovers, and the Eagles clamped down on the Panthers' two best shooters, Chase Cofer and Jeff Wehling, who shot 3-of-11 from the field.

But BCS, which is 17-0 at home, still led 21-20 at the break, with the best yet to come. The Panthers connected on 11-of-15 attempts in the third quarter and attacked when Oldsmar Christian got in foul trouble.

Virgil Johnson, the Eagles' 6-foot-8 forward, picked up his third foul three seconds into the third, opening the inside for D.J. Magley, who sparked a 9-0 run that gave BCS a 55-40 lead with less than six minutes remaining.

The Eagles' David Minaya finished with a game-high 22 points, 16 in the second half.