SARASOTA — Clearwater Central Catholic went on a late-season run to qualify for the region playoffs. The Marauders’ stay was short-lived as the Class 3A, District 9 runnersup fell to host Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 67-36.
“They’re a really strong team, and they play defense on our guards well,” CCC coach James Margarella said. “Their man-to-man pressure defense kept us from running any offense.”
Behind the play of Justin Reed, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, CCC trailed only 12-7 at the end of the first quarter. The Marauders kept the tempo in their favor and prevented the Cougars from scoring easy baskets.
In the second quarter, Cardinal Mooney went on a 19-0 run from which CCC did not recover. Nick Peacock scored eight points during the run for the Cougars.
“We held them pretty well in the first quarter, but they caught fire in the second quarter,” Margarella said. “They hit some shots and we didn’t, and they were so tough on our guards. We couldn’t handle the pressure.”
Reed scored all of the Marauders’ points in the second and third quarters but did not get enough help. The Cougars never let CCC get closer than 17 points in the second half.