Monday, January 22, 2018
Prep Sports Report

Another vexing Boca Ciega boys basketball loss to Largo

GULFPORT — Boca Ciega had done some pretty impressive things this season. The Pirates were 9-1, owned a share of the top seed in Class 7A, District 9 and were on a seven-game win streak.

But the Pirates had not beaten Largo.

On Friday, Boca Ciega had a chance to atone for its lone loss this season.

It turned out to be another frustrating outcome.

The Packers rallied from an early nine-point deficit to win 52-49.

"Oh, Lordy, we needed that," Largo coach Phil Price said.

Injuries and illnesses had depleted the Packers (9-6). Julian Yeldon tore his meniscus during the winter break and is out for the year. Isaiah Bellamy was held out with an illness but will return.

As a result, Largo had lost five straight, despite having the lead in nearly every one.

"We just had to learn how to finish," Price said.

The Packers did Friday.

Trailing for nearly the entire game, Largo chipped away at the lead until going ahead in the final two minutes.

Zhahidi Robinson was the catalyst for the comeback. The senior guard hit a layup as he was fouled, then made a free throw to complete a three-point play to tie the score at 47. Raymond Collins followed that with a layup to give the Packers the lead for good.

Robinson was not finished. He also had a steal in the final minute and led all scorers with 20 points.

"(Robinson) beat us," Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said. "He was a one-man wrecking crew. He stole every ball, made every shot from field and missed just one free throw. He did it all."

The loss drops the Pirates into a tie with Largo and Clearwater for second place in the district. Northeast currently is on top.

The way Boca Ciega lost irked Shuman considering his team gave up another big lead to the Packers.

"Were the most giving basketball team in the county," Shuman said. "We were ahead 13 the first time and gave that up. We're up nine this time. It probably should have been more, but who knows,we'd probably give that up, too."

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