LAKEWOOD RANCH -- When Damien Gordon was growing up, he used to get pushed around and dominated on the the basketball court.
A lot of those players who made life miserable for him now play for Southeast. Gordon never forgot, and now you might say he is getting some payback.
The sophomore wing scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as host Lakewood Ranch overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to earn a 79-70 triumph over the Seminoles on Tuesday night.
Earlier this season, Gordon scored 22 points to lead the Mustangs to a 96-78 victory over Southeast.
"I played with them when I was younger and they all out-worked me and now I look at it as my time to come back," Gordon said. "It's real nice to beat them. Everyone around town thinks they are better than us."
Southeast (15-8) was on fire in the first half, knocking down eight of 12 attempts from beyond the arc while the Mustangs (19-4) shot an ice cold 1 for 10 from the bonus land and connected only 7 of 31 field-goal attempts.
In the first half, Lakewood Ranch stayed in the game by converting 13 of 16 from the free throw line, while Southeast had only three attempts and made two.
Using its height and muscle, Lakewood Ranch scored 26 points in the third quarter with five of its baskets coming on layups and putbacks, Gordon led the way with seven points.
Southeast turned cold after intermission and managed only four 3-pointers on 17 attempts.
Lakewood Ranch kept chipping away with baseline layups and domination of the offensive boards.
Brock Sisson who misfired on four straight from beyond the arc, nailed one to give Lakewood Ranch its first lead at 65-63 with 4:31 left in the game and the Mustangs never trailed.
"Damien has been good all year. He is our leading scorer now and is a really efficient scorer from all parts of the court," Lakewood Ranch head coach Jeremy Schiller said. "When Damien plays hard he is one of the best players in the area and he is doing that more consistently. I know my kids are going to battle, scratch and claw and at the end of the day, we beat a really good Southeast team coming from behind."
Lakewood Ranch outscored Southeast 17-7 in the last four minutes of the game. A trey by Alex Taylor cut Southeast's deficit to 68-66 with 3:23 remaining. The Mustangs responded with five straight points sparked by back-to-
back steals from Gordon.
The game turned at the free throw line. Lakewood Ranch converted 25 of 32 from the charity stripe while Southeast was only 4 for 7 and never got into a bonus situation. The Seminoles were whistled for 24 fouls and the Mustangs for 11.
"We just really ran out of bodies. We had a few guys foul out and then some got into foul trouble and we had depth problems coming in," Southeast coach Floyd Watkins said. "But with that being said, it was more about what they did, They pushed the ball at us and they finished and started shooting better from the outside."
Lakewood Ranch's two big men, Justin Muscara and Jack Kelly, were the only other Mustangs to hit double figures, scoring 11 and 12 points respectively.
Alex Taylor and Corey Davis led Southeast with 19 points apiece. Tre Alexandrea had 12 points and 10 assists and Jon Colon added 11 points.