We took in the second full day of action at the 45th Annual Kingdom of the Sun Classic at Vanguard High School in Ocala. Possibly the most tradition-rich boys basketball event in the state, the Kingdom has become a must on any holiday tournament watch list. We caught the second round of action.
Rockledge vs. Westport
In a rarity, the game began with two technical free throws for Rockledge for an unknown violation on Westport. That essentially was the start of a 10-0 run by Rockledge to begin the game. Westport was able to close the gap to eight to end the first quarter down 15-7. An 8-3 run by Rockledge over the first four minutes of the second period extended their lead to double digits. At the half, Rockledge led 29-16 and looked in complete control.
Westport came out hot in the third quarter and got to within six, but Rockledge got back in the game and pushed the lead to fifteen at 40-26 midway thru the period. Westport fought back to close the gap to eleven at 46-35 entering the final period. Westport continued their resurgence into the first couple of minutes of the fourth quarter and with four minutes left had made it a contest at 48-41. However, time was on the side of Rockledge and they were able to ice the game at the free throw line and win by the score of 58-47.
Plant City vs. Martin County
This one got off to a slow start as it was only 3-2 in favor of Martin County midway thru the opening period and just 9-3 in favor of the Tigers after the first eight minutes of play. The second quarter featured much more offensive activity by both teams. Plant City drew to within one midway thru the period and by the time the halftime horn sounded, Plant City had taken the lead by a score of 22-20.
The third quarter continued to be a close contest and midway thru the period the score was tied at twenty-six. Martin County was able to pull ahead in the closing minutes to lead by one point, 31-30 heading into the final period of play. The lead changed hands a couple of times in the quarter but Martin County was able to secure the lead with just under two minutes to play and hold off Plant City at the free throw line to win by a score of 48-47.
North Marion vs. Jones
Jones had fallen in overtime the night before to host school Vanguard and looked to be suffering some lingering effects. North Marion jumped out early and led by two after the first quarter, 13-11. Jones got things going in the second quarter and tied the score at twenty-four midway thru but when halftime rolled around, North Marion had retaken the lead by a point at 28-27.
Jones jumped out on an 8-3 run to start the third period. The Tigers were able to maintain that lead to lead by a bucket at 38-36 heading into the fourth quarter. Once again, Jones got off to a quick start, this time with an 8-0 run. At the 5:30 mark, the Tigers led by ten at 46-36 and had complete control of the contest. Jones would go on to win by eight, 56-48.
Decatur (GA) Columbia vs. Lakewood Ranch
After Lakewood Ranch jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, it looked like this contest would be over very quickly. Columbia righted the ship and played evenly with Lakewood Ranch the rest of the first quarter, but were still down by the score of 23-9. Columbia opened the second period with a 9-0 run to make it a five point game midway thru the quarter. They actually climbed all the way back to tie the score at twenty-six and took a three point lead into the halftime locker room with the score 29-26. In all Columbia had outscored Lakewood Ranch 29-13 over the last quarter and a half of play of the first half.
The lead would go back and forth in the third quarter after Lakewood Ranch tied the score at thirty-two at the six minute mark. Columbia led by a point, 41-40 at the start of the fourth period with the game still to close to call. With 3:30 left in the game and the score tied at 47-47, Lakewood Ranch’s Christian Shaneyfelt converted a three point play and then put back a teammate’s miss to give Lakewood Ranch a lead it would not relinquish. Lakewood Ranch would go on to win essentially by those five points, 57-52.
North Florida Educational Institute vs. Windermere
In the first game of the winners’ bracket, NFEI out of Jacksonville took on second-year school Windermere. NFEI led by two at 7-5 midway thru the opening period but Windermere polished off the period with an 8-2 run. That run continued at the start of the second quarter and with 3:30 left to play before the half, Windemere was up 25-11. They would continue to grow that lead and at the half led by a score of 37-13.
That lead was simply too much to overcome for NFEI in the second half. While a running clock was within reach for the most part of the second half, NFEI was able to hold off that embarrassment. Still, Windermere won the game handily by a score of 67-36.
Bolingbrook (IL) HS vs. Hawthorne
Located about thirty minutes southwest of Chicago, Bolingbrook got the warm weather they were looking for as the head coach was dressed in shorts for the contest. Bolingbrook certainly had a lot more size than Class 1A Hawthorne. Still, the Hornets had a lot of motivation and didn’t hesitate to go right at Bolingbrook. The visitors from Illinois led just 11-10 midway thru the first quarter. The lead was five at both the end of the first quarter and midway thru the second for Bolingbrook. When half-time arrived, Hawthorne was down only seven at 36-29.
That same margin continued throughout the third period and the score was 47-40 in favor of Bolingbrook with one period left to play. Hawthorne continued to try to push the pace and get the bigger Bolingbrook squad out of its comfort zone, but each time the Hornets made a run, Bolingbrook found and answer. They would go on to win by a score of 62-54.
Ocala Vanguard vs. St. Petersburg Gibbs
The host Knights were looking to get back to the semi-finals against a solid Gibbs squad. Gibbs had other ideas and jumped out to an early 7-2 lead midway thru the opening period. Vanguard closed the gap to within three by the end of the quarter at 9-6. The second period found Gibbs continuing to hold a slight lead throughout as Vanguard (both teams actually) struggled to consistently score. At the half, Gibbs held a five point lead at 18-13.
Vanguard found some success in the third quarter and tied the score at twenty-one with 3:15 left to play but a 9-2 run by Gibbs to close out the third gave them a 30-23 lead. Vanguard was undaunted, and reeled off an 8-1 run to start the final quarter and tie the game at thirty-one with 5:30 left to play. Gibbs answered right back over the next two minutes to lead by seven at 39-32. Vanguard had one more run left in them and with 2:30 left to play, the Knights were down just one at 40-39. That is as close as the host school would get, as Gibbs closed out the game with a 9-2 spurt to win by eight, 49-41.
Orlando Christian Prep vs. Coral Springs Charter
The opening quarter was a bit lackluster for both teams and OCP led just 8-3 after the period was over. The second period was quite different, as OCP used a stellar defense to force turnovers and limit Charter to one shot and out when they did get a shot off. OCP reeled off a 12-0 run to lead 20-3 midway thru the second quarter. Charter got off the mat, replied with an 11-2 run of their own to get back into the game at 22-14 when halftime rolled around.
Charter continued its roll to open the third quarter, and grabbed its first lead of the game at 25-24 with 4:30 remaining. That lead would grow to six by the end of the period with Charter up 33-27, looking in complete control. OCP had other ideas, and slowly began to chip away at the lead. An 11-1 run over the first five minutes gave OCP back the lead at 38-37 with just under three minutes to play. Ultimately, OCP would hold Charter to just four points in the final quarter to win by a score of 46-37.