O'Donnell Scores 28 in Losing Effort

NC State signee Mike O'Donnell went out with a bang last night, scoring a game-high 28 points in his team's second-round playoff loss to top-ranked Mariner High School.

Despite his effort, O'Donnell and the Largo Packers (25-7) were eliminated from the tourney with 68-58 defeat. Largo, which graduated four seniors last year, played Mariner (28-1) tough throughout, and O'Donnell was able to keep his team in the game despite being keyed on defensively.

The 6-foot point guard was able to penetrate against tight man-to-man defense for pull-up mid-range jumpers and driving layups, but O'Donnell found every shot contested from long range, and went 1-8 from behind the arc.

Said O'Donnell, "It was just one of those nights. When you have a night like that, the basket looks like a needle hole."

O'Donnell had reason to believe his squad could pull off the upset, since Largo earlier defeated the only team that had beaten Mariner all year, Fort Myers (27-3). Interestingly enough, Mariner will face Fort Myers again next in the playoffs.

Mariner played without leading scorer Dave Anderson (19.9 points per game), who his out for the year with a broken elbow, but received plenty of help from 6'9" Robert Ferguson, who had 23 points, 17 boards, and nine blocked shots.

A former summer basketball teammate of O'Donnell's, Ferguson said of O'Donnell, "I knew he was going to be a factor."

O'Donnell certainly was, but it wasn't quite enough to beat Ferguson and Mariner.

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