SEMINOLE – Through power failures and injury delays, Pinellas County teams shined at Saturday's ninth annual Keith MacCollom Seminole Shootout.
Highlighted by East Lake's 68-64 come-from-behind victory over Wharton, Pinellas teams won five of the day's six games at Seminole High's court.
With Darin Green Jr. (game-high 30 points and eight rebounds, named team's most outstanding player on the day) scoring the last five points of the first quarter and sixth-man Jasper Floyd contributing six points to a strong second-quarter run, the Wildcats (now 9-3) stretched their first-half lead to eight (34-26) before settling for a 36-30 advantage at the break.
But the Eagles (now 9-6) found another gear in the final 16 minutes, led by a still-healing Breon Hillmon.
"I came here late," said Hillmon, who arrived for second-quarter action, "I've been sick and I felt a little light-headed. But I was ready to go in the second half."
Whether it was mixing it up in the paint or finding his teammates in their shooting spots, Hillmon brought an energy that was infectious. He contributed four points to a 8-2 run to start the third that drew East Lake even, then dropped a pair of fourth-quarter dimes, one beauty after a steal that set up a 3-pointer from Dakota Speed-Ferris for a 58-53 advantage.
"That's something Coach (Britt Taylor) has been preaching all year," Hillmon said. "Keep running, don't rush things and run the offense. We had good teamwork and we were playing unselfishly."
That mantra was well executed in a fourth-quarter start where six Eagles scored, stretching their lead to a high of seven points with three minutes left to play.
East Lake's most outstanding player, Jordan Hillmon, hit on four 3-pointers to lead a balanced effort with 14 points. Dionte Blanch was the first-half go-to guy, scoring 10 of his 12 points then. Breon Hillmon and Kristian Longenecker finished with 10 points apiece.
Green earned most outstanding player honors as he drained five 3s in a 30-point performance.
Clearwater 62, Jesuit 52: Only a blown transformer that knocked out the scoreboard, most of the gym's lights and caused a 25-minute delay could slow the Tornadoes' closing rush.
Mitchell Johnson's putback gave Jesuit (11-4) its last lead at 41-40 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. From there, Dawson Maxwell and Gilbert Mendez took charge.
Maxwell (game-high 23 points, most outstanding player for 11-6 Clearwater) dropped through three 3s and nine points in a clutch 15-7, six-minute run. Mendez (14 points and five assists) dropped two dimes during the stretch, then added four free throws to wrap up the victory.
"I didn't shoot well (Friday night) and we probably started a little slow (Saturday)," said Maxwell. "But Coach (Kristopher Foote) switched things up in the second half, we got inside more, and that helped."
Maxwell was the key figure in Foote's adjustment.
"I sent Dawson down low to rebound, work the baseline, do the dirty work," Foote said. "I asked him to be more aggressive, we tightened up our defense and that led to better shooter spot-ups and transition 3s."
Nirobi Peeler pitched in 11 points for the Tornadoes, while the Tigers received 15 points from Jack Cooper and 12 more from Nick Weir.
Largo 56, Robinson 49: The Packers (11-6) led wire-to-wire, but coach Phil Price certainly wasn't happy with what transpired.
"We came off of a big game (Friday, dealing Boca Ciega its second loss of the year) and I told the kids, 'let's build on that'," Price said.
Largo did just that, surging to a 19-7 lead after one quarter and a 29-17 edge at the half.
But the Packers lost some focus and Robinson (3-9) took advantage, closing to within three midway through the third.
"We got selfish and we can't do that," Price said. "All year long, I've been telling them that extra passes will lead to easy shots, but they're not doing that."
Strong, pressing defense created turnovers and an 8-0, two-minute run gave Largo an 11-point lead it was able to protect.
Lakeland 80, Seminole 68: The host Warhawks (9-4) showed some guts in the fourth quarter, melting a 24-point Dreadnaught lead to eight with 2:41 remaining when Oklahoma State commit Duncan Demuth's energy and execution sparked an 18-2 run over just 2½ minutes.
But Luke Anderson (28 points and 14 rebounds, most outstanding player) and Dwayne McCalebb (19 points and nine assists) triggered a quick 8-0 run for Lakeland (15-2) to put the game away.
Demuth (team's most outstanding player) was the force behind Seminole's 36-point fourth quarter, contributing 12 as part of a 22-point, 10-rebound effort.
Collin Sowada added 16 points for the Warhawks while Arik Marvin had 10 points and Parker Conitz nine with seven rebounds.
Boca Ciega 84, Mitchell 65: Following a trend of second-half success on Saturday, the Pirates used energetic defense and fast breaks off of those steals to turn a five-point halftime lead into 20 within 5½ minutes, then repelled the Mustangs' charges for the victory.
A streaky first half saw AJ Boyd get Boca Ciega up by six (27-21) in the second quarter only to have Jordan Frontera (team-high 19 points) pour in a pair of 3s to help put Mitchell (7-7) on top.
Bogie (10-2) exploded for 29 points out of halftime, nine coming from Boyd (21 points) and eight more from Jerroda Briscoe (game-high 23 points, most outstanding player) to carry a 64-52 advantage to the final frame.
With Briscoe dominating the paint, Bogie regained its 20-point lead and cruised home.
Dakota Moore added 12 points for the victors while Frontera was joined by most outstanding player JP Watt (17 points) as Mitchell's scoring leaders.
Palm Harbor University 65, Sebring 51: In the Shootout opener, most outstanding player Noah Tran was on fire, connecting on six treys and finishing with 27 points for the 5-10 Hurricanes. Ezra McKee added 12 points for the victors.