ST. PETERSBURG — Wednesday’s practice at Shorecrest started just like almost every other one this season. A few minutes of stretching, some running then a fullcourt layup/shooting drill in which the Chargers try to score 150 points in five minutes.
When the final 3-pointer sails through the net in the last second for the 150th point, the players let out a tired cheer. All in a day’s work for the Chargers, who average 74 points a game entering tonight’s Class 3A region final at Naples First Baptist and consider it an average night when they attempt 30 3-pointers.
“The more shots we take, the more opportunities to score,” 6-foot junior guard Brady Grimm said. “We’re up-tempo. If we have the open 3, take it. Our team is full of shooters.”
And nobody has shot it better for Shorecrest this season than Grimm. An East Lake transfer, Grimm fit in right away. He averages 22 points per game thanks to a mix of outside shooting and cuts to the basket.
“Brady gets to the line about 10 times per game,” Shorecrest coach Daryl Blume said. “He’s not afraid to get inside. You wouldn’t know that by looking at him, but he’ll go right to the basket.”
Grimm got plenty of playing time last season as a sophomore at East Lake. He played in 16 games and averaged 13 points.
But Shorecrest’s combination of academics and run-and-gun style basketball lured him to St. Petersburg. He makes the drive from East Lake to Shorecrest every morning although he said his family is trying to find a house closer to the school.
“It was definitely an academic decision,” Grimm said. “But I did study their style of play, and I thought I would fit perfectly here.”
While Grimm is the leading scorer, it would be a mistake for opponents to focus just on him. Senior center Jay Joyer averages about 10 points and 10 rebounds per game and will play at West Point next season.
Kent Kilgroe, Kenny DeVaul and Marcus Blake also can score in double figures on any night, according to Blume. Blake came up big in the region semifinal with 13 points against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.
It also helps that Shorecrest has sophomore guard Tyee Johnson healthy again. He missed the first half of the season due to knee surgery, but Blume said he is fully healthy.
“We’re not just one player,” Blume said. “We’ve got a nine-player rotation, and any one of them can get you 10 points on a given night.’’
Shorecrest is making its fifth straight region tournament appearance. At 24-4, it has set the school record for wins and is trying to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2012.
“I think the first time we went, the kids were just happy to be there and we got blown out,’’ Blume said of a 71-49 loss to Weston Sagemont. “If we get back there, we’re going to go about it differently.’’
First Baptist stands in the way. Shorecrest expects a hostile crowd and a close game.
“I think we’re playing really well right now,’’ Grimm said. “We’re not really worried so much about them.
“We’re just going to do what we do.’’