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St. Petersburg boys come through at the free-throw line late

Seminole, meanwhile, is 4-for-11 from the line in the fourth quarter in a two-point loss.
St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell, left, celebrates a 65-63 win over Seminole in Thursday's region quarterfinals. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell, left, celebrates a 65-63 win over Seminole in Thursday's region quarterfinals. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

SEMINOLE — Ray Perry had 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead No. 7 St. Petersburg to a 65-63 win over host Seminole in their Class 6A boys basketball region quarterfinal. The Green Devils (19-9) will stay on the road and play Fort Myers in a region semifinal on Tuesday.

St. Petersburg trailed 50-47 going into the fourth quarter but got baskets from Deon Earley and Perry to a take a lead. The advantage increased to 54-50 after a 3-pointer by Perry.

No. 2 Seminole (18-6) tied the score at 54-54 after Parker Conitz hit the front end of a double bonus, but Ferlin Joseph put the Green Devils back up 56-54 with a put-back off an offensive rebound.

“They gave all the effort they had,” Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said. “I thought we came together defensively and Perry was ready to win in the final minutes. He took over every possession down the stretch.”

The game came down to free throws and St. Petersburg took advantage of its opportunities at the line.

Eli Cotto got the Warhawks to within 58-56 off a layup and had a chance to make it a one-point game but missed an opportunity to complete the three-point play.

Seminole's Eli Cotto goes up for a shot against St. Petersburg's Ferlin Joseph in the first quarter. [SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES]

After Joseph hit both ends of a bonus to put the Green Devils up 60-56, Conitz had both of his free throws on a double bonus roll off the rim. Seminole was 4-for-11 from the line in the fourth quarter.

“Yeah, it came down to free throws,” Warhawks coach Josh Walker said. “We’ve got to hit those. They’re free.”

Conitz got Seminole within two at 63-61 when he banked in a 3-pointer with 18.4 seconds left, but Perry sank both free throws at the other end make it a two-possession game again.

The game was a back-and-forth from the beginning and neither team had the lead for an extended stretch of time. St. Petersburg led 32-29 at halftime, but the Warhawks took a 43-40 lead after a 3-pointer from Conitz.

“We had to stay patient defending Seminole because they run their offense well and can lull you to sleep,” Blackwell said. “I thought we contained some of the things they do.”

Seminole had their biggest lead, 50-44, late in the third but Earley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to energize the Green Devils at the end of the period.

“We got that lead to six, which is what I like the call the ‘Mendoza line’,” Walker said. “And then they get that 3 and yeah, it probably took some momentum away us. Offensively we weren’t as crisp as we wanted to be. We couldn’t get Sam (Denor) going.”

Conitz had 28 points for Seminole. Earley and Mari Sherrod both had 17 for St. Petersburg.

Region semifinals

Games 7 p.m. Tuesday.

7A: No. 3 Wharton at No. 2 Windermere

6A: No. 5 Charlotte at No. 1 East Lake

6A: No. 7 St. Petersburg at No. 3 Fort Myers

6A: No. 7 Lakeland at No. 3 Hillsborough

5A: No. 4 Port Charlotte at No. 1 Clearwater

5A: No. 3 Naples at No. 2 Jesuit

5A: No. 3 Land O’ Lakes at No. 2 Orlando Jones

4A: No. 5 Lakewood at No. 1 Tampa Catholic

4A: No. 4 Anclote at No. 1 Lake Highland Prep

3A: No. 4 Calvary Christian at No. 1 Community School of Naples

3A: No. 7 Seffner Christian at No. 6 Fort Myers Canterbury

2A: No. 3 Cambridge Christian at No. 2 Bayshore Christian

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