By Dave Brousseau
LAKELAND – Certainly this wasn’t what the Forest Hill boys’ basketball team envisioned.
A season of hope and promise to win the school’s first state championship came to a crashing end following an 80-59 loss to Seminole in a Class 7A state semifinal at the RP Funding Center on Friday.
The most telling stats that led to the Falcons demise on this day was 22 turnovers over the final three quarters. In addition, poor shooting from the field (32.9 percent), including 3-pointers (14.3 percent) and free throws (62.5 percent).
“Our ultimate goal obviously was to get here and win,” said Forest Hill coach Tony Watson. “We fell one game short.
“We were talking about taking care of the ball. We realized that a lot of their points came off our turnovers. Today we were on the wrong side of the stick when it came to turnovers.
The 21-point loss was the worst of the year since the 69-50 setback to Mountain Brook at the Kreul Classic on Dec. 18. It also snapped the Falcons 22-game winning streak.
This was the first time in Forest Hill boys’ basketball history to reach the state semifinals. The program had been to the state tournament previous when eight teams were in the tournament back in 1963. The Falcons lost in the quarterfinals.
The second quarter, realistically, decided the outcome of the game as Seminole (27-4) outscored Forest Hill 31-13 to build a 50-34 halftime advantage.
The Falcons never recovered.
The Falcons had a decent start with 21-19 first quarter lead with only one turnover.
From there little went in favor of Forest Hill.
SEMINOLE 80, FOREST HILL 59
S (27-4): Wynn 2-5-9, Cleveland 5-0-11, D. Henderson 2-0-4, Baker 5-4-16, Perkins 9-4-24, J. Henderson 2-0-5, Coefield 2-0-4, Harrison 1-0-3, Mobley 1-0-2, Shaukar 1-0-2.
FH (28-3): Joseph III 2-3-8, Draper 5-2-12, Daniels 2-2-6, Jeter 5-2-13, Mogbo 4-0-9, Cooper 1-1-3, Williams III 2-0-4, Strawter 1-0-2, Sweeney 1-0-2.
3-pointers: Baker 2, Perkins 2, Cleveland, J. Henderson, Harrison, Joseph III, Jeter, Mogbo. Half: S 50-34.