Posted: 10:45 am Friday, March 4th, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Dwyer-Fort Walton Beach Class 5A semifinal 

By Jeff Greer

LAKELAND — It’s Day 3 here at the Lakeland Center, and the big schools have taken over the arena. Dwyer’s on tap for an 11:30 tip against the Panhandle’s Fort Walton Beach in the Class 5A semifinals. Keep it here for updates.

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Lots and lots of expectations for Dwyer coming into this weekend’s tournament, even from noncommitted observers. If we exclude Dwyer’s now vacated loss to Dr. Krop (Dr. Krop’s season was ended because of FHSAA violations), the Panthers haven’t won a game by fewer than 18 points in 2011. Let’s see if the Panthers can avoid the heartbreak of the past two years and reach the finals.

Here’s your headquarters for all things boys’ hoops states.

Let’s get this going, shall we?

FINAL
Dwyer defeated Fort Walton Beach 83-58 in a dominant performance. It never seemed in doubt from the tipoff, and the Panthers just asserted their will in every aspect of the game. Fort Walton Beach appeared overwhelmed early on — maybe a bit flustered — and never got comfortable.

Dwyer will play in the Class 5A championship game at 3:35 p.m. tomorrow against the winner of tonight’s semifinal between St. Petersburg-Gibbs and Lake Wales.

Vic Adams scored 17 points for Dwyer. Greg Louis had 14.

AFTER THREE QUARTERS
Fort Walton Beach came out with a sense of urgency and converted a few early layups to cut Dwyer’s lead to 17, but the Panthers responded with relentless pressure and a 15-2 run of its own.

At the end of the third quarter, Dwyer leads 67-37.

AT HALFTIME
Dwyer firmly put the game in its control with a quick 11-0 burst to start the second quarter. The Panthers lead 46-22 at the break.

It’s clear that the size, speed and strength of Dwyer is too much for Fort Walton Beach, and it’s jostled Fort Walton’s confidence. The Vikings missed a few bunnies early on and committed multiple turnovers that flustered them. That carried over to the foul line, where they were 11 of 22 in the first half.

Meanwhile Dwyer was scoring at will and creating points off turnovers. I’m sure Dwyer coach Fred Ross will be frustrated by Dwyer’s own turnovers (9), especially ones on fast breaks, but he can’t be disappointed with how his team has played on defense.

STATS

Dwyer: Greg Louis has 10 points and five boards. Terrell Harris has 10 and four. Vic Adams has eight points and a pair of 3s. Jacoby Brissett has six points, three steals, two assists and two boards. Montel Williams has six points off the bench.

As a team, Dwyer is shooting 56 percent and is 3 of 10 from 3. The Panthers are just 5 of 12 from the foul line, but they were winning the rebound battle 17-16 and have forced 16 FWB turnovers.

Fort Walton Beach: Sed Rudolph has seven points. AJ Shepherd has five points and five boards.

As a team, FWB is shooting 36 percent. The Vikings are hanging with Dwyer on the glass, so if they can limit the turnovers and make some easy buckets (which they missed in the first half), they could make a small comeback. They really have been hurt by the foul-line struggles.

AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER
Dwyer has intimidated Fort Walton Beach into several botched layups and a handful of turnovers. Dwyer leads 16-5 after one. Were it not for a few fast-break turnovers, Dwyer would be up by more. Still, this game already feels like it’s trending in one direction.

Terrell Harris has six points for Dwyer.

STARTERS

For Dwyer: 6-10 C Joel James, 6-7 F Greg Louis, 6-4 G Jacoby Brissett, 6-3 G Victor Adams, 6-3 G Terrell Harris.

For Fort Walton Beach: 6-2 G Sedric Rudolph, 6-3 G AJ Shepherd, 6-5 F Robert Willis, 5-11 G Darin Webster, 6-2 G Rece Drake.

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