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Sat. January 26, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

Gibbs, the top-ranked boys basketball team in Pinellas County, is reeling after losing two of its top guards.

Barry Brown, the team's second-leading scorer (13.9 points per game) was held out of Friday's loss to St. Petersburg by his family for personal reasons, according to coach Larry Murphy. Brown also will be out for Tuesday's game against Boca Ciega. Murphy said he hopes to have Brown back by districts.

The Gladiators also lost guard Zicari Gibbons, who was arrested Friday on a felony charge of possessing a gun on school grounds.

Gibbons most likely will be done for the season because the district policy manual says a student who brings a gun to school is automatically suspended for 10 days and is recommended for expulsion.

Another guard, Shaq Speights, the team's leading scorer (15.7 points per game), is serving a four-week suspension from the Florida High School Athletic Association after being ejected for a Level II infraction in a game against Fort Myers two weeks ago. Speights initially was suspended six weeks but had it reduced to four on appeal. He will be eligible to return after the Class 5A, District 12 tournament.

Gibbs had won 15 of its past 16 games before Friday's loss to St. Petersburg, which knocked the Gladiators out of contention for the conference championship game.

"It's tough right now," Murphy said. "We just need to hold on and hopefully we can hang and get through the district tournament and into the playoffs."

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