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'Canes' lost focus quickly morphs into fighting fire

Citrus coach Tom Densmore hopes the 'Canes are over the hump, that Tuesday night's win over Crystal River was a wakeup call.

He wasn't happy with the varsity squad goofing around in the stands during the JV game.

"I didn't think they were mentally ready to play just by the way they were in the stands," Densmore said. "They were getting more into the cheerleading, if you know what I mean, than preparing themselves to play."

After being down 20-4 in the first quarter, Densmore saw something that has been lacking in many of their games this season.

"Between quarters I could see in their eyes they were ready to fight," Densmore said. "They got that fire in their eyes."

After a 24-point outburst in the second quarter, Citrus (2-3, 1-2 Class 4A-6) trailed by four at halftime, going on to win 57-55 over Crystal River.

Four 'Canes finished in double digits - sophomore guard Antoin Scriven (12 points), junior forward Craig Augustine (12 points), sophomore guard Trent Shelton (10 points), who hit a 3 to tie the score at 53, and junior guard Jon Ear (10 points), who hit two key 3-pointers in second quarter to help spur the 'Canes back from the large first-quarter deficit.

TOUGH NIGHT: Lecanto (3-2, 2-1 Class 4A-6) lost 54-51 Tuesday night to West Port.

"We had our worst shooting night," coach Chris Nichols said. "We shot 26 percent from the floor, which is very uncharacteristic for us. On a night like that we'd better play better defense than we did last night."

The Panthers also turned the ball over 19 times. "We could get by on a night where we don't shoot, but not where you don't shoot, don't play good defense and turn the ball over. That's how you lose basketball games."

Lecanto plays its next three games on the road, including Monday night at Crystal River.

Both teams like up-tempo, aggressive basketball.

"Which means there should be about 200 points that game," Nichols said.

SHOOTING THE ROCK: Seven Rivers Christian (4-1, 3-0 Class A-6) is coming off a 50-40 win Tuesday night. Senior shooting guard Justin Richardson continues to lead the Warriors, averaging 20.2 points a game, while sophomore forward Derek LaBahn has increased his rebounding average to 9.0. The Warriors are outscoring opponents an average of 19 points a game. The Warriors are helped by their defense, which has held opponents to an average of 30 points a game. Coach Jim Ervin said Drew Donovan is a big reason for that.

"He's aggressive and plays good pressure defense," Ervin said. "He creates havoc on defenses."

INJURED: Crystal River point guard Jay Winborne is questionable after injuring his foot during the Pirates' loss to Citrus earlier this week.

Coach Justin Orosz said he could tell there was something wrong with Winborne because the senior point guard started settling for jump shots instead of driving to the hoop.

Winborne, an effective leader for the Pirates, has averaged 15.5 points per game. Orosz said Winborne always seems to strike a medium between distributing the ball and taking the shot.

"I've never seen a point guard like him," Orosz said.