PALM HARBOR — Friday night saw a loss that would have hurt a lesser team. All it did was push St. Petersburg to greater heights in an 83-55 blitzing of Palm Harbor University.
Dayon Griffin was rolling toward another productive effort: 10 points, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots against the host Hurricanes in just shy of a half of action.
But the senior suffered a left knee injury with 1:24 left when he was fouled making a layup. He spent several minutes prone before being helped to the locker room.
But the Green Devils (6-0) simply rolled their talented lineup into new roles and kept flowing like everything was normal.
“Guys rallied around Dayon at halftime,” St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said. “Instead of going to the locker room, they went to (him in) the trainer’s room. This is a tight-knit, well-experienced team that stepped their game up.”
With the Green Devils up 45-27 at halftime, senior Terrell Burney (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) slid into Griffin’s role and ignited a 12-5 run with three baskets including a 3-pointer, plus an assist and a steal.
“I pass the ball a lot from the wing, I practice playing the point and I played some point last year,” Burney said. “It’s a role I’m used to and I was able to find guys for some good shots.”
Kevon Woods (five assists) passed effectively and Provonsha Wells (16 points on 7 of 8 shooting) was nearly unstoppable. Ben Clare (18 points and 12 rebounds) became a beast under the rim and ran a savvy high-post look that got St. Petersburg clean cuts along both baselines. Add fearless freshman Darius Banks (14 points, six boards and three assists) and the Hurricanes (3-4) didn’t stand a chance.
“We’re pretty experienced,” Burney said. “Everybody knows their roles and everybody knows everyone else’s game, so that makes it easier for us as a team.”
“The scariest thing is that we haven’t peaked yet,” Blackwell said. “When we do, when the oil is running that machine well … that’s the biggest thing, we’re good.”