Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Sports

Leopards, Sharks to meet in 5A-7 final


Published:   |   Updated: February 6, 2014 at 04:03 PM

WESLEY CHAPEL - History was made on Wednesday night in the Class 5A, District 7 Tournament, and an all-Hernando County final was secured after Nature Coast and Hernando came out victorious in semifinal action.

The top-seeded Sharks got nine points and 13 rebounds from Rohan Blackwood, who earlier in the day signed to play football with USF, in their 43-32 win over fifth-seeded Central.

Nature Coast (19-7) has now reached the regional tournament for the fifth year in a row.

The Sharks led most of the way in a contest that was close throughout the first three quarters.

Early in the fourth, the Bears (12-12) took a 25-24 lead on a layup by Sinjin Blaha, who finished with 23 points, and it seemed like the slow, methodical pace that Central was playing was getting to Nature Coast.

The Sharks, however, responded with a 10-0 run to expand their lead and put away the Bears.

"I think that the pressure of being the top seed kind of got to us a little bit. We felt the pressure and it showed out there," Sharks head coach Dave Pisarcik explained. "On top of that, Central was able to slow the tempo down and we were actually playing their game for much of the evening. In the district tournament anything can happen and I think we escaped with one tonight."

Leading scorer Carlos Clemente started off slowly, but proved to be the difference-maker by scoring 11 of his team-high 15 in the fourth quarter.

"Carlos tweaked his ankle early on and he had to come out for a little bit. I could tell it was bothering him, but when Central took the lead I told our seniors that they had to step up. Carlos definitely did that for us in the fourth," Pisarcik said.

The Sharks, who will be seeking their third consecutive district championship, as well as their fourth in five years, will look to avenge a rare loss Hernando a few weeks ago.

The second-seeded Leopards reached the title game with a 53-49 win against tournament host Wesley Chapel.

Mark Wilson paced Hernando (15-5) with 17 points and five steals, as the Leopards will advance to the regionals for the first time since 2004.

"Mark is our catalyst and a lot of the offense flows through him," Hernando head coach Jeff Laing said. "He's maturing into a pretty good player."

The Leopards led for most of the way and held a lead as large as 37-24 in the third quarter, but the third-seeded Wildcats (21-6) clawed back into it.

Wesley Chapel, who saw its regional tournament streak end at three years, used a 13-1 run in the third quarter to cut the deficit to one, but the Wildcats never held the lead over the final three quarters.

"I'm very proud of the boys and what they accomplished. They fought through some adversity early on in the year, but I think the kids are starting to drink the Kool-Aid, if you will," Laing said. "They trust me and they are starting to understand that if we stay together as a team that there is a lot that we can accomplish."

Nature Coast 43, Central 32

Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4

CEN 7 10 6 9 - 32

NCT 10 8 6 19 - 43

Central (32): Blaha 8 4-10 23, Smith 0 3-4 3, Jones 1 1-2 3, Hudson 0 0-1 0, Wyatt 1 1-2 3. Totals 10 9-19 32.

Nature Coast (43): Blackwood 4 1-5 9, Clemente 4 6-6 15, Bergantino 2 3-7 7, Da. Jones 1 0-0 2, Parker 2 3-5 7, Crima 1 0-0 3. Totals 14 13-23 43.

Three-point field goals: CEN 3 (Blaha 3); NCT 2 (Clemente, Crima).

Total fouls: CEN 18; NCT 17.

Technical fouls: none.

Fouled out: Lodwick (CEN).

Records: Central (12-12), Nature Coast (19-7).

Hernando 53, Wesley Chapel 49

Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4

WC 10 12 17 10 - 49

HER 14 15 14 10 - 53

Wesley Chapel (49): Emery 2 3-4 8, Mejia 1 0-0 2, Hayne 4 4-5 12, Rodriguez 4 2-4 10, McCrary 1 0-0 2, Jennings 4 3-4 11, Williams 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 14-19 49.

Hernando (53): M. Wilson 8 1-3 17, J. Wilson 2 2-2 6, Jones 4 3-6 12, Maclachlan 3 3-7 9, Duncan 2 1-2 5, Hart 2 0-1 4. Totals 21 10-21 53.

Three-point field goals: WC 1 (Emery); HER 1 (Jones).

Total fouls: WC 19; HER 19.

Technical fouls: none.

Fouled out: none.

Records: Wesley Chapel (21-6), Hernando (15-5).

Class 5A, District 7 Tournament

at Wesley Chapel

02-03

No. 2 Hernando 80, No. 7 Weeki Wachee 28

02-04

No. 5 Central 41, No. 4 Zephyrhills 30

No. 3 Wesley Chapel 50, No. 6 Pasco 31

02-05

No. 1 Nature Coast 43, Central 32

Hernando 53, Wesley Chapel 49

02-07

(Championship)

Nature Coast vs. Hernando, 7 p.m.

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