TAMPA — Berkeley Prep held Tampa Catholic scoreless for the last 2:54 of their Class 4A, District 10 championship game, and Marshall Holmes made all four of his free throw attempts in that span as the Bucs edged the Crusaders 68-55 Friday.
It was the sixth straight year the teams played in the district championship game and it was Berkeley Prep’s fourth victory in those games.
The Crusaders missed four potential go-ahead or tying shots down the stretch. They had the ball with a chance to win with 32 seconds left but never got a shot off. A bad pass carried Chivarsky Corbett out of bounds with 6 seconds left, eventually allowing Holmes to seal the victory at the line.
“It was a big statement game,” said Bucs senior Justin Gray, who led all scorers with 26 points. “We play them four times every year, and it’s tough every time. They had their runs, we had our runs, and in the end it came down to defense.”
Berkeley Prep (24-3) expects a fourth meeting in the region semifinals next week. The teams have played four times two of the last three seasons. In four seasons on varsity, Gray has gone up against Tampa Catholic 13 times, winning 10.
Gray’s dunk to start the fourth quarter, and a steal and a dunk by Craig Bowman capped a 12-2 run that gave the Bucs a 60-51 lead with 6:32 remaining.
But the Bucs only scored one more basket from the field the rest of the way, and Tampa Catholic (15-12) rallied.
The Crusaders scored 10 in just over a minute as Corbett (25 points) made a 3-pointer and Thomas Dziagwa converted a three-point play.
After 12 lead changes in the second half, Sam Harris scored to give TC its final lead at 65-64.
“It was a game of runs,” said Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart. “Every time I felt somewhat comfortable … the next thing you know they’re coming back and they take the lead."