TAMPA — Brooks-DeBartolo was game, but host Tampa Prep was on its game, riding hot outside shooting and 29 points from Juwan Durham to a 73-53 win in the Class 3A, District 7 final.
Durham scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, six on dunks, after the Phoenix, down 19, rallied.
The Phoenix (19-8), though, are headed to the playoffs for the first time. It opens at Lakeland Christian, a team it beat by 20 last week, on Thursday.
The Terps (23-3) host Fort Meade (7-14) on Thursday.
“We’re getting into a nice, little groove,” Tampa Prep point guard Yoni Wasser said. “We have a chance to go pretty far in this tournament.”
Especially if the Terps shoot like they did Saturday. They made 21 of their first 32 shots to lead 57-38 through three quarters. Then they missed their first seven of the fourth as Brooks-DeBartolo pulled within 12 points and twice had the ball with a chance to cut further into the margin.
But the Phoenix missed two technical foul free throws, which were followed by a Durham block and dunk. Later, he took an alley-oop from Amari Goulbourne for a 65-48 lead.
Durham’s night ended after a 360 dunk on a breakaway.
“It was either going to be a windmill or a 360,” he said. “I told my teammates I was going to do something special if I had the chance.”
The Phoenix pushed the pace early and led 7-2.
“Once we settled down, we were fine,” Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said.
Up 31-27 with a minute to go in the first half, Tampa Prep put up four quick points. Then it did its damage from the 3-point arc, getting three from three different players to lead by 15 early in the third. They were Tampa Prep’s only 3-pointers of the night.
Durham added 10 rebounds. Michael Fridella scored 16 points and Taz Strauch 11 for the Terps. For the Phoenix, Jio Molina scored 16 and Jarred Anderson 13.