ST. PETERSBURG — Admiral Farragut and Shorecrest have climbed to the top of the Class 3A, District 9 standings with different styles. The Blue Jackets like to use their size to wear out teams while the Chargers will shoot from any part of the court.
In Friday night’s regular-season rematch, size won out over finesse.
After trailing early, Admiral Farragut settled down in the second quarter and stayed ahead the entire second half en route to a 71-62 win. It was the second straight win over the Chargers this season, and with the victory AFA (11-8, 9-1) is in first place in the district.
“It wasn’t just size, it was our kids’ willingness to play hard,” Blue Jackets coach Sylvio Brutus said. “Anyone can have size. If you have size and the willingness to play hard, it makes a big difference.”
AFA got strong inside play from Alvin Cunningham (17 points), Iba Camara (16 points) and Max Eaton (15). The Blue Jackets needed the consistency of that trio, especially after Shorecrest got off to a fast start.
The Chargers set the tone when Ricky Quiroz hit his first two 3-point attempts and Jay Joyer added another for a quick 9-2 lead. As Shorecrest continued to make outside shots, AFA chipped away and trailed 22-17 after the first quarter.
Then the defense took over. The Blue Jackets started to pressure more and caused several Shorecrest turnovers. AFA went on a 15-3 run in the second quarter and took a 32-25 lead to the locker room.
The lead stretched to 46-28 midway through the third quarter and it looked like the Chargers had dug too deep of a hole. But a 10-2 run early in the fourth, thanks to eight quick points from Quiroz, cut the lead to eight.
Shorecrest got as close as 62-56 with three minutes remaining, but AFA was able to make some layups and free throws to put away the game.
“I think we controlled the boards and got some offensive rebounds that allowed us to get some putbacks,” Brutus said. “And we made our free throws down the stretch.”
Quiroz led Shorecrest with 24 points, including seven 3-pointers. Johnny Koenig added 12 and Luke Blume 11.