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GREEN DEVILS CAN'T KEEP UP WITH DREADNAUGHTS

Lakeland used balanced scoring to defeat St. Petersburg 84-73 Thursday night and is four wins from its first state title since 1957.

Lakeland (23-5), which finished the year ranked seventh in the state in Class 6A, jumped out to a 10-2 lead two minutes in as Quinton Everett scored five of his team-high 22 points in that spurt, including a 3-pointer.

"We had good energy to start the game," Lakeland coach Deron Collins said. "This time of year a win is a win. I am just happy to move on."

The Green Devils cut the lead to 40-37 early in the second half as Anthony Carter scored six in a row, but their inability to stop Lakeland and Richie Edwards led to their downfall as he scored six straight to finish the third quarter and increase Lakeland's lead to 64-48. Edwards finished with 14 points.

"Big players make big plays in big games and that is what he (Edwards) did," Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said.

Carter and Gabriel Moton led St. Petersburg in scoring with 16 each. Quayshawn Nealy added 15 with Tory Smith chipped in with 11 for Lakeland.

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