ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Prep's Juwan Durham and Shorecrest's Jay Joyer each pulverized a platoon of defenders during the first two rounds of the Shorecrest Holiday Tournament.
So it was only natural to assume the pair of 6-foot-9 forwards would headline Saturday's championship game that featured teams ranked in the Class 3A state poll by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches. Tampa Prep is fifth, and Shorecrest ninth.
And the matchup had its moments, with both altering shots and rim-rattling dunks.
But in the end, Durham had the better result. The sophomore, named the tournament MVP, had a team-high 17 points, including a turnaround jumper in the final minute that sealed a 59-52 victory for the 11-1 Terrapins.
"That was a shot we would not have drawn up," Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. "But it worked. That's the great thing about high school basketball. You never know what can happen."
In Friday's semifinal win, Durham sprained his left thumb and had it heavy bandaged for Saturday's championship game.
"I wasn't at my best, but I think I got better as the game progressed," Durham said. "It was hard to get into a rhythm, and I had trouble dribbling. But I was able to help my team with some big buckets at the end."
By turning up its defensive pressure, Tampa Prep outscored Shorecrest 16-4 in the fourth quarter. Joyer finished with 15.
"We got a little sloppy with some turnovers at the end," said coach Daryl Blume, whose Chargers fell to 11-3. "But this was a game that gave us some confidence that we play with anyone in the state."