Guard penetration by the Trojans was the downfall for United, a 66-56 loser.
By BOB ROTH
SEBRING-- The Sebring High basketball team clinched a tie for its 25th Tri-County League title Tuesday night by defeating visiting United, 66-56.
It was the first TCL title for the Trojans' fourth-year coach Brian Clark -- and it was far from easy.
United, which lost to Sebring 66-51 on Jan. 14, trailed 18-15 after the first quarter and 29-20 midway through the second, but rallied to end the quarter with a 6-0 run.
The Eagles cut their deficit to 34-33 midway through the third quarter, but Sebring, led by Andrew Wilson's six points, ran off 11 straight points to take control.
United would not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
"This is a crowning achievement for these kids to win a championship together and a tribute to how hard they work at this game," Clark said. "On defense they never let up tonight and offensively our guards are exceptional at penetrating."
Sebring (15-3, 11-2) shot 57 percent from the field (29 of 51) and led by as many as 16.
The Trojans forced 11 United turnovers in the second half.
& quot;They didn't give us much room to move offensively and on defense we were caught in their movement, with forwards having to pick up their guards when they penetrated," Eagles coach Herman Miller said. "Our guys played hard, but there was a two-minute gap in the third quarter, when the game got away from us. & quot;
Junior Cory Manfull scored 17 points and senior Grant Cope tallied 15 more for United (8-9, 5-8). Dale Woolf had seven of the Eagles' 27 rebounds.
Junior Andrew Wilson scored 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting for the Trojans, who won their third title in the last 14 years.
"We worked hard and ran more than we have lately and with good defense we played as a team," Wilson said.
Close to 1,000
Senior Greg VanKirk had 13 points, Josh Dean netted 12 and Ed Householder added 10. VanKirk needs two points to reach 1,000 for his career.
& quot;We created an uptempo game tonight and worked the ball well with everybody involved," VanKirk said.
Junior guard David Scarpitti added nine points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals for Sebring.
"We had chances to win the title earlier, but didn't get it done, so it feels real good to work hard and get it done tonight at home," Scarpitti said.
Sebring can win the title outright on Friday at East Palestine. Former Sebring coach Rick Brook (an East Palestine native) will be inducted into the Bulldogs' Hall of Fame that night.