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South Sumter High head boys basketball coach A.J. Bryant found a team that was wearing the Raiders uniforms but really didn’t normally play like them during the regular season.
He hopes to see much more of that team.
Led by 22 points by Reace Kinney and 13 by Devin Papinheim, the Raiders beat New Port Richey Ridgewood 71-58 Monday, Feb. 3 in the opening round of the Class 3A district tournament at the Villages High School. The victory earned the Raiders a Wednesday game against The Villages.
Kinney was 12 for 12 at the free throw line and the team hit 26 of 31 free throw attempts to take the game from the Rams.
South Sumter outscored the Pasco County team 30-10 in the fourth quarter to make the game a blowout.
South Sumter has a 5-21 mark and Bryant would have loved to have seen that team show up more often.
“This is a better night for us,” said Bryant. “If we had shot like that against Wildwood, we would have beaten them also. I’m pretty sure we are over 75 percent (from the free throw line).
“This is a young team and I thought they put it together when it counted. That team (Ridgewood) had beaten them twice. We lost 13 games by 12 points or less.
“It’s a young team that has been in every game. To see them come up with a win tonight is great for them.
“Reace is our leader and 22 points is indicative of the work he put in. He deserves it. We had no one guy who came out to win it. They jelled as a team and came together to win one game.”
South Sumter took a 10-7 first quarter behind Bruce Williams’ six points.
Kinney exploded for 10 points in the second quarter as the Raiders outscored the Rams 15-11.
The score was Raiders 25-18 at the half.
Ridgewood had a strong third quarter, outpointing the Raiders 27-16. Matt Simmons had seven points.
Papinheim led the Raiders in the fourth quarter with nine points.
The Raiders even had an excellent fast break during the game.