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TAMPA — Longtime Tampa Prep boys basketball coach Joe Fenlon said he didn’t count victories much when he was first starting out. Admittedly, he didn’t have that many to count then.
Twenty-nine years later, he has had plenty of wins to count and a lot of help counting them. Thursday night, on the homecourt that bears his name, Fenlon collected win No. 600 as Tampa Prep defeated Seffner Christian 72-34.
“I’m fortunate to be here,” said Fenlon, who took over the Tampa Prep program as a 21-year-old coach in 1983. “(Twenty-nine) years ago, I never thought I’d be standing here. Six hundred is a lot of games. But you don’t win that many games without a great group of kids. Every kid I ever coached had a part in this.”
Tampa Prep senior guard and Butler University signee, Devontae Morgan, had a big part in No. 600.
Morgan scored eight straight points midway through the opening period, including four on back-to-back dunks, as the Terrapins (11-0) streaked out to an 18-2 lead and cruised to the milestone victory. Morgan finished with a game-high 24 points.
Seffner Christian (7-6) was led by Garrett Saunders’ 10 points.
According to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches, Fenlon has collected the most career victories of any Hillsborough County coach at the boys high school level.
Fenlon has led the Terrapins to the state final four seven times and finished as state runnerup three times (1997, ’99, 2010). His first district crown came in 1993, and Tampa Prep has repeated that distinction every year except one.
“This is exciting to share because it’s such a great group of kids,” said Fenlon, who added that win No. 500 was special as well because his son was a part of that team. “It’s a sign of being in a great place a long period of time and coaching a bunch of great kids.
“I don’t take it for granted. But we’ll enjoy it and (today) we’ll come to practice and start getting ready for (Saturday’s game against) Berkeley.”