Host St. Petersburg used a balanced attack and a pressure defense to take down Palm Harbor University, 66-45, Friday in the 8A-8 boys basketball final.
Dayon Griffin led the Green Devils with 16 points, Ben Clare scored 15 and Terrell Burney had 14 as St. Petersburg stuck to coach Chris Blackwell’s plan to wear down the Hurricanes.
“We knew they were good shooters and they can get hot if you let them get into a rhythm,” Blackwell said. “I wanted us to get pressure on them and take out their legs so those long shots wouldn’t fall.”
St. Petersburg (18-1) lead 25-16 at halftime and only the shooting of Joe Pigozzo (25 points) kept the Hurricanes within striking distance.
In the second half the Green Devils quickly pushed the lead to double digits behind a 3-pointer from Burney, then Clare’s layup at the end of the third gave St. Petersburg a 43-27 lead. The Green Devils opened the fourth with an 8-0 run and cruised from there.
St. Petersburg also attempted 33 free throws.
“This is a special group and I think we have all the intangibles to make a deep run,” Blackwell said. “We have the speed, the size, good depth. I don’t see any reason we can make it to Lakeland.”