ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas Park guard Corey Edwards scored 14 of his game-high 22 in the second half against East Lake on Wednesday, leading the Patriots a 55-52 victory in the semifinals of the Shorecrest Holiday Tournament.
The Patriots were down 31-27 midway through the third quarter but went on a 10-0 run, thanks to gutsy shooting by Edwards. With a defender in his face, Edwards dropped a 3-pointer contributing to the run and Pinellas Park (5-5) never trailed after that.
“(Edwards is) the leader on the floor,” Pinellas Park coach Jon Cabino said. “I think he’s the best point guard in the county right now. He’s playing tough and he’s making clutch baskets when we need them.”
East Lake (6-5) made matters difficult for Pinellas Park, going on a 6-0 run late in the fourth quarter. The Eagles’ Jeremy Mogged — who had a team-high 19 points — kept the contest interesting, dropping consecutive three pointers and cutting the deficit to one with 21 seconds left in the game.
“We’ve been giving up leads and can’t seem to close out games,” Cabino said. “I’m glad we got that experience of closing out a game and we did a good job.”
After a Pinellas Park timeout, the Patriots played keep away until Iman Smith found a wide-open PJ Franklin for an easy layup, making the score 55-52 with 9 seconds left on the clock. Mogged heaved a three-pointer, which fell short at the buzzer.
“We wanted to come and compete, and show everybody that we can compete against the top teams in the districts,” Edwards said.
Shorecrest (7-3) cruised to a 70-34 victory over Parkside (Ontario, Canada) in the late semifinal. Rick Quiroz led the Chargers with 19 points. Shorecrest will face Pinellas Park on Thursday night.