Dream Season Continues: King Reaches State Final Four
TAMPA - King boys basketball coach Sam Lanier couldn't stop the tears from falling. "All of these kids have a story," he said. "They just wanted it so bad this year." With an 87-46 dismantling of Daytona Beach Seabreeze in the Class 5A-Region 2 final Saturday, King advanced to its first state boys basketball tournament appearance. The Lions (23-6) will face top-ranked Gainesville in the 5A state semifinals Wednesday.King senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led his team with 18 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, and he surpassed the 2,000-point milestone. He needed four points entering the game to hit the career mark. "Words can't describe," Fitzpatrick said. "I don't think it's hit me yet." "This means everything to me as a senior," said forward Andrew Donaldson, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half. "It was our last game at home, so everyone played their hearts out." The Lions led 27-14 after the first quarter and went into halftime ahead 44-24. A minute into the fourth quarter, they led 72-41. "The school record for points allowed in a season is 52.5 per game," Lanier said. "Last year, they allowed 52.9 per game. I challenged them this year to break that record this year." "We've been relying on our defense all season," Fitzpatrick said. "We keep our defense up, no matter what tempo the other team has brought." Before this season, the program was 0-3 all-time in the postseason. "I saw it," Lanier said. "I saw it in the summer." "This means a lot," Fitzpatrick said. Sophomore Reshard Brown added 16 points, while senior guard Adrian Federick finished with 14. Junior Cory Walden led Seabreeze (19-8) with 22 points.
Reporter Nick Williams can be reached at (813) 865-4848.