GULFPORT — St. Petersburg spotted host Boca Ciega a 2-0 lead because of a technical foul before the game started. That was the only time the Green Devils trailed as they held off a furious rally and won 73-67.
St. Petersburg started the game with an 8-0 run behind 3s from Dayan Griffin and Demontrae Adams. The Green Devils led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
“I have no idea why that happens,” Pirates coach Randy Shuman said. “We start slow in every game.”
The Green Devils blew the game open in the second quarter as the Pirates went cold and turned the ball over eight times. Adams and Griffin continued their hot shooting and got some help as five other Green Devils scored. St. Petersburg led 34-18 lead at halftime.
“Adams showed up tonight, and when he and Griffin play well it’s hard to beat us,” Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said.
It looked like St. Petersburg would put away the game early after taking a 21-point lead in the third quarter but Shuman called timeout and the Pirates went into a fullcourt press. The moved worked as the pace picked up and the Green Devils started to commit turnovers. Michael Clark led the charge with 13 points in the quarter and Dallas Moore chipped in with six more.
The frenetic pace continued in the fourth quarter. D.J. White and Moore brought the Pirates to within six twice but Devann Owens found David Jones for a layup and Adams hit a 3.
“I think we relaxed and got complacent in the second half,” Blackwell said. “Obviously they’re well-coached and brought the intensity to us, but we were in control of the game.”
Adams led the Green Devils with 18 points and six rebounds while Griffin had 18 points and four rebounds. Jones chipped in with six points and nine rebounds.
Clark led the Pirates with 18 points and six rebounds, White had 16 points, five rebounds and six steals while Moore added 15 points.
“There were a couple of plays where we had chances and couldn’t find the basket,” Shuman said. “We can’t get into that spot. We can play with anyone but can we beat anyone?”