TAMPA — Jesuit led wire to wire and ran its home undefeated streak to two straight seasons as the Tigers defeated Robinson for the fourth time this season 63-53 Tuesday night in the Class 5A region semifinals.
“It’s always tough to beat a team four times,” junior Jack Fleming said. “They played us real tough but we hung together and got the win.”
Jesuit (27-1), which had beaten Robinson by a combined 68 points in the previous three meetings, had trouble shaking the Knights (23-6).
“I never really felt comfortable,” Jesuit coach Neal Goldman said. “I give (Robinson) a lot of credit.”
With Robinson trailing by just five heading into the fourth quarter, Jesuit finally got some breathing room. Travis Johnson’s booming two-handed dunk of an inbound pass with 5:28 to play gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the night to that point at 51-40. The Tigers extended that margin to 15 and Robinson couldn’t recover.
“We just had to keep going at them,” Fleming said. “We felt if we kept working as a team that we would be in good shape.”
Four Tigers, including Devin Harris (team-high 17), scored in double digits. Jesuit’s Nick Medich finished with 13 while Johnson and Fleming added 11 each. Johnson fell three assists (seven) short of a triple double, recording 13 rebounds. Robinson got a game-high 22 points from Tre Leonard.
“We felt we had an advantage in that matchup with (Johnson) down low,” Goldman said.
Jesuit next plays at No. 1 Lake Wales, an 81-48 winner against Rockledge, Saturday in the region finals.
“We’re confident and feel we can compete with anybody,” Goldman said. “This is right where we want to be.”