TAMPA — Defending state champion Jesuit overcame a two-point halftime deficit and beat Robinson 54-45 for the district championship.
The Tigers (18-8) beat the Knights (17-10) for the third time this season and relegated Robinson to a runnerup finish for the second straight season.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times and they came out tough in the first half,” said Jesuit forward Daniel Darst, who scored a game-high 26. “We had a very bad half, but we were only down by two.”
Jesuit trailed until it finally went ahead with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Christian Whidden, who last week broke the school record with nine in a win over Tampa Catholic, turned a 27-23 deficit into a 29-26 lead. Just for good measure,
Whidden’s 3-pointer at the buzzer ending the third gave Jesuit a 34-29 lead.
“Coach (Neal Goldman) always tells us, 'If you get a shot, take it,’ ” said Whidden, who scored 16.
Travis Forehand and Iyan Mitchell each scored 10 for Robinson. Mitchell’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 46-42, but the Knights never got closer.
Jesuit now has won a district title for all eight sports so far this season. The list includes five in the fall — bowling (club), cross country, football, golf and swimming; and three in the winter — basketball, soccer and wrestling.