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LARGO — Tarpon Springs’ C.J. Mackey is hard to slow, and he showed why he’s such a dominant force by scoring 20 in a 64-59 victory Thursday over Lake Mary Prep in the final of the Indian Rocks Christian Holiday Tournament.
“(Coach James Margarella) told me they have nobody that can stop me,” said Mackey, the tournament MVP. “If we played our game, we’d win.”
Tarpon Springs (10-4) played the low-post game well and utilized its size advantage against Lake Mary.
“Our game plan was to get the ball low and get the ball into the hands of our post players,” Margarella said. “We played a complete game.”
The Spongers ended the second quarter dominating the boards and finishing the half on a 14-0 run, which carried into an 18-0 run at the start of the third.
Lake Mary (9-2) chipped away by knocking down some big 3-pointers and forcing Tarpon to turn over the ball in the second half. Lake Mary’s Eain Mosley drained a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, which contributed to a 9-0 run and brought the score to within five.
“We should’ve been playing calmer and with a little more poise and composure,” Margarella said. “There was a little bit of a nervousness there, especially when we weren’t hitting our free throws.”
A Lake Mary assistant coach received a technical foul after arguing with an official and the Spongers’ C.J. Bargman had a chance to put away the game but missed both free throws.
“We were shaky down the stretch, not hitting free throws,” said Bargman, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. “I’ve got to make (free throws), especially in crunch time.”
Tarpon Springs’ defense came up big, forcing a turnover in the waning moments.
In the third-place game, Dixie Hollins (3-9) upset Osceola (8-6) 50-41. The Rebels’ Fred Lacey finished with a game-high 23 points.