TAMPA — After Justin Gray struggled in a 22-point loss to Tampa Prep three weeks ago, Berkeley Prep charged its senior guard to star on offense and defense in Friday’s rematch.
He did both, all game and in the final seconds.
Gray’s layup with 30 seconds left in overtime put the Buccaneers ahead for good, and his defensive stand late sealed a 68-66 home win on his senior night.
“What Justin did on both ends of the floor was remarkable,” Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart said of Gray, who finished with 23 points, six rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
Gray’s success started early in a battle of Hillsborough County’s top two teams. The Texas Tech recruit’s first quarter featured five points, a steal, two rebounds and two blocks. His second swat led to Jacob Mathis’ layup that gave Berkeley Prep (22-2) a 20-8 lead.
But Tampa Prep (21-3) hung around and clawed back behind sophomore Juwan Durham. His jumper kicked off a 10-0 second-quarter run, which he capped by throwing down an alley-oop dunk after his only steal of the game.
Gray drained his only 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and push Berkeley Prep’s lead to 52-45 before Tampa Prep rallied again with four quick points by freshman guard Amari Goulbourne, who entered the night averaging 3.9 points per game but finished with a career-high 21.
“I thought Amari Goulbourne was amazing for them,” Reinhart said.
Tampa Prep tied the game with 1:07 left in regulation on one of Taz Strauch’s two 3-pointers. After Berkeley Prep senior Craig Bowman hit a free throw, Tampa Prep took a 59-58 lead, its first of the game, when Durham followed a spin move and dunk with 36 seconds left.
Bucs senior Marshall Holmes calmly sank 1 of 2 free throws with six seconds left to tie the game again, and the Terps missed a tough layup at the end of regulation that would have won the game.
Berkeley Prep took the early lead in overtime until Goulbourne drained a 3 from the corner with 43 seconds left that gave the Terrapins a 66-65 lead and set up Gray’s heroics.
The Bucs opened up the middle for Gray on the next play, and he drove in for the go-ahead layup with 30 seconds left. Bowman added a late free throw, but Tampa Prep had one final hope with 1.4 seconds left.
Durham took an inbounds pass, and Bowman and Gray defended before he could get off a halfcourt prayer.
“We outlasted them,” Reinhart said.
Bowman finished with 17 points for Berkeley Prep. Holmes, who was honored before the game for recently scoring his 1,000th career point, added 15 points.
Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.