ST. PETERSBURG — Wednesday night against Clearwater Central Catholic, St. Petersburg Catholic played what coach Mike Moran called “easily our worst game in five years” as the Marauders snapped a 30-game losing streak to the Barons.
Friday night, SPC needed to play its best game of the season if it was going to halt a five-game losing streak to district foe Shorecrest.
And in this up-and-down season for the Barons, that’s exactly what they did.
SPC jumped on the Chargers early and never let up in a 68-52 win. Kevin O’Donnell led the way with 23 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Ryan Green added 22, including 15 in the first half.
“We’ve been kind of three steps forward, two steps back this year,” Moran said. “This is certainly going to help our confidence.”
Any memories of the CCC loss were erased in the first eight minutes. The Barons came out smoking, and after 3-pointers from O’Donnell and Green and an O’Donnell layup, they led 11-2. The lead was 17-7 after the first quarter, and all seven of Shorecrest’s points were scored by Johnny Koenig, who finished with a game-high 30.
SPC scored the first five points of the second quarter, and midway through the second a 3-pointer from O’Donnell made the score 25-9. The Barons’ 1-3-1 defense frustrated the Chargers, and by halftime they had a comfortable 40-24 lead.
“That was huge,” O’Donnell said of getting the early lead. “That’s kind of the way we are. If we come out big in the first quarter, then we’re going to win every time.”
The Barons did not let up in the second half. They continued to get sharp shooting from O’Donnell, Green and Mike Fridella and were able to keep Shorecrest from going on any runs of more than four points.
The lead was 19 by the end of the third quarter. And when SPC’s Mike Johnson made a 3-pointer on a layup and foul shot with five minutes remaining to make the score 63-36, the outcome was not in doubt.
“This is going to help us get some confidence back and take some momentum into the districts,” O’Donnell said. “We knew we could play better than the way we played the other night.”