TAMPA — Standing 6 feet 9 with arms that stretch nearly to his knees, Tampa Prep sophomore center Juwan Durham is a towering presence in the paint for opposing teams to shoot over.
On Tuesday, Brooks DeBartolo got a first-hand look at just how much Durham can affect an offense.
Durham blocked five shots from the Phoenix and altered countless others to lead Tampa Prep to a 57-49 victory in a key district matchup.
Every time Brooks DeBartolo tried to get the ball in the paint, there was Durham, standing, swatting and just generally making life miserable for the Phoenix’s interior players.
“He’s going to be the best player on the floor every time he steps out there,” Brooks DeBartolo coach Brian Reeves said. “He’s a great kid, and a great player.”
Offensively, Durham was just as effective for the Terrapins (5-0, 3-0), scoring a game-high 21 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
“I felt like I could have done a little better, but I think I played a good game,” Durham said.
Behind Durham’s length, Tampa Prep opened a 10-7 advantage after the first quarter and stretched the lead to 10 points midway through the second. Brooks DeBartolo (5-2, 2-1) senior Brenden Huynh drained back-to-back 3s late in the half to keep the Phoenix close. The Terrapins led 23-15 at halftime.
Tampa Prep opened the second half with a 10-3 run to stretch its lead to 15 points. The Phoenix cut it to single digits after a pair of free throws from Huynh and a bucket from Jarred Anderson with 3:18 remaining. The Terrapins’ Joseph Barker drained a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, though, to effectively ice the game.
“Joseph hitting those back-to-back 3s, that was unexpected,” Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. “But, he was open, and I’ve always told the kids, ‘If you’re open and you feel good, let it go.’ ”
Needing to gamble defensively, Brooks DeBartolo forced a handful of turnovers late in the fourth to get within seven with under a minute to go, but ran out of time.
Barker finished with 14 points, and Michael Fridella hit a pair of 3-pointers and racked up 16 points to complement Durham’s inside presence for the undefeated Terrapins.
“(Fridella’s) a shooter, he’s a scorer,” Fenlon said. “We need him to be aggressive offensively.”
Huynh had a team-high 17 points and Anderson had 13 for Brooks DeBartolo, which struggled to find consistent scoring from any one player.