Boys basketball: Calvary Christian 72, Tampa Prep 60
TAMPA – In the offseason, the Florida High School Athletic Association readjusted its basketball classifications. That affected Calvary Christian’s boys program because it was placed in the same district (Class 4A-4) as Tampa Prep.
The Terrapins have a playoff pedigree with 11 straight district titles and seven straight region final appearances. The Warriors have made the playoffs just once in the past seasons.
But Calvary Christian had something that Tampa Prep didn't, at least in Tuesday’s regular-season meeting: experience.
All five starters for the Warriors are seniors, most of whom played together since elementary school. The Terrapins, meanwhile, lost nine seniors from last season’s team, including Juwan Durham (Connecticut) and Tyson Ward (North Dakota State), who are now playing in college.
The difference showed as the Warriors jumped out to an early lead and never allowed Tampa Prep to take control in cruising to a 72-60 win.
This is the first time Calvary Christian has beaten the Terrapins in Keb Burley’s five seasons as coach, though the teams met only once before in that span.
“It’s a big win, especially in trying to get that first seed in the district because every game is so tough,” Burley said. “We still have a long way to go, though.”
The Warriors (14-4) jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 12-2 in the first quarter thanks to a strong shooting performance from the outside.
Tampa Prep (13-2) responded by going on a 15-2 run to take a 17-15 lead in the second quarter.
Then Calvary Christian took over by finding its shooting touch from long range. At the half, the Warriors led 29-25.
For much of third quarter, the teams traded points, as well as the lead. Midway through the fourth quarter, Calvary Christian went up 59-45. The Terrapins cut the deficit to nine points in the final two minutes but not get any closer.
Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Warriors, led by Eddie Williams and Austin Meloche, who each had 15 points. Amari Goulbourne had a team-high 23 points for Tampa Prep.
The Terrapins have been in this situation before. Last season, they lost to Seffner Christian twice in the regular season. Tampa Prep rebounded to beat the Crusaders in the district final and region semifinal.
“We need some time for the young players to develop and figure things out,” Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said. “We settled down and took the lead a couple of times and then we’d give them an easy look and hang our heads a little bit.
“We don’t have that experience yet to weather a run and come out smelling like a rose. This is good. We’ve had it fairly comfortable for years.”