RIVERVIEW — After racing out to a 40-24 lead midway through the third quarter, Tampa Bay Tech looked poised to coast to an easy victory.
Not so fast, said the Sharks.
The Titans did, in the end, hang on for the 56-49 victory Friday night in the Class 7A, District 8 championship, but a 12-2 run by Riverview late in the fourth quarter made for some nervous moments.
“We got a little confident once we got that 16-point lead and started making silly fouls,” Titans coach Reggie Lawrence said. “Definitely happy to pull this out, did not want to travel.”
With 1:15 remaining and the Titans (23-2) clinging to a three-point lead, senior Dasha Christopher drew a foul on a 3-point shot from the top of the arc. By making two of the three ensuing shots, she effectively ended the Sharks’ scare.
“She’s improved so much that it’s unbelievable,” Lawrence said. “She understands that she has one of the best shots that I’ve seen in a long time. I tell her, just keep shooting the ball. We have the bigs that can grab the rebounds if you miss.”
Those bigs played well for TBT, with junior center Erica Young and senior forward Jazmine Joseph scoring 20 apiece. Riverview junior Faith Woodard led all scorers with 21 points and teammate Jaitesha Hanson added 20.
The Sharks (21-4), who lost two starters because of injuries midway through the season, were stymied in the second quarter and hit only two field goals.
After a halftime wakeup call from coach Lelani Gordon, there were no more questions about their energy level.
“We gave tremendous effort in the second half,” Gordon said. “We gave it everything we had. There is no question we left it on the floor. We just didn’t have enough firepower.”
As the district champion, TBT will host Bartow (22-7) on Thursday. Riverview will travel to Haines City (27-2).