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ST. PETERSBURG — Shorecrest played tough inside defense during overtime and made free throws in the game’s final seconds Thursday to defeat Pinellas Park in the Shorecrest Holiday Tournament 72-69.
The Chargers led for most of the game, thanks in large part to outside shooting. In the first half Rick Quiroz made four 3-pointers, helping stake Shorecrest to a 35-29 lead at halftime. Strong rebounding, led by center Jay Joyer, gave the Chargers second chances.
Most of the Patriots’ points came from the inside. With the team’s outside shooting not working, Brandon Jones and Iman Smith repeatedly drove to the basket and kept the Patriots close.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots’ Nik Preradovic hit a 3-pointer that tied the game at 54. A layup by Jarey Brown then gave Pinellas Park its first lead since early in the opening quarter.
The Chargers’ Luke Blume scored two big 3-pointers back to back, the latter of which tied the game at 64 with 90 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Patriots possession, Corey Edwards passed to Smith, who was unable to sink the layup.
After Pinellas Park inbounded with 5.3 seconds, Shorecrest rejected a 3-point attempt by Preradovic from the baseline.
In overtime, the Patriots had trouble getting to the basket as the Chargers tightened their defense.
“We backed off the press and tried to contain Corey,” Shorecrest coach Daryl Blume said.
Joyer, who had 20 rebounds, was named the tournament MVP. Edwards and Smith took all-tournament honors for the Patriots, while the Chargers’ Quiroz and Blume also were named to the all-tournament team.
Even though Pinellas Park overcame a 10-point deficit, Daryl Blume didn’t let it alter his team’s game plan.
“We just kept trying to beat the pressure up top,” he said. “Our saying is, ‘Do what we do.’ ”