TAMPA — For Berkeley Prep fans, the latest Buccaneers-Tampa Catholic sequel will go down as one of the most gratifying in the series’ recent history.
For the Crusaders, it was Caddyshack II.
The season’s fourth meeting of the private-school rivals came within a point of ending with a running clock. Playing arguably their most complete game of the year, the Bucs (22-7) owned the glass, the 3-point line and everything in between in an 87-65 rout in the Class 4A region semifinals.
The final score belied the severity of the drubbing. Berkeley, which travels to Boca Raton Saint Andrew’s on Saturday, led by 27 at halftime and 34 in the opening phases of the fourth before emptying its bench.
“They outplayed us in just about every facet of the game,” TC coach Don Dziagwa said.
Dziagwa, like many in the audience of roughly 300, never saw this coming. Only 11 days earlier, the Bucs had escaped with a one-point win against TC (19-9) in the District 9 final, clinching with a free throw in the final 4.8 seconds.
Tuesday, they essentially sealed things in the first 4.8 minutes. Berkeley finished with a 36-24 rebounding edge (including 19 offensive boards) and shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from long range. Junior Marshall Holmes and 6-foot-4, 197-pound freshman Jacob Mathis led the way with 18 points each.
“We played fairly well against DeSoto (in the region quarters) but we haven’t played this well in quite some time,” Berkeley coach
Bobby Reinhart said. “So no doubt we can take a lot of confidence away from this and try to keep preparing ourselves and get ready for Saint Andrew’s.”
A second-quarter sequence encapsulated Tuesday’s proceedings.
A Holmes 3 was followed by a TC traveling violation, leading to a Holmes layup on a feed from the perimeter. After TC was whistled for a charge, junior Justin Gray — playing on a sprained left ankle — lunged to save a long pass from going out of bounds. It was retrieved and fed to Mathis for a layup.
That made it 36-12.
“I looked into some of their eyes and they were totally gone,” said Holmes, an AAU teammate of two Crusaders players. “They didn’t want to play the game anymore. They were just playing to finish the game rather than win the game. And that’s when we had them on their heels.”
7A: Green Devils figure out Chiefs
ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s switch to a zone defense dared Chamberlain’s players to shoot 3-pointers, and the Chiefs couldn’t convert.
The Green Devils, meanwhile, couldn’t miss.
During a crucial stretch in the third quarter and early in the fourth, the Chiefs went cold as the Green Devils heated up and pulled away for a 80-70 victory in a Class 7A region semifinal.
The Green Devils, clinging to a 41-39 lead, used a pair of three-point plays and five 3-point shots — as well as an injury to Chamberlain leading scorer Reggie Hart — to key 12-0 and 12-2 runs as they pulled away.
Hart missed two minutes after going down with a dislocated ring finger on his shooting hand. He returned with his fingers taped, but only made one basket in the second half.
“There was two minutes after Reggie went out the kids were in shock,” said Chiefs coach Chris Snyder. “It was probably my fault for not calling a timeout, but I didn’t want my kids to think about it and keep playing.”
But Hart’s absence wasn’t nearly as big an issue as the Green Devils’ 2-3 matchup zone. After playing man-to-man in the first half, and having some trouble as the Chiefs (21-6) made it to the basket, the Green Devils (21-7) decided to make Chamberlain win from the outside.
“We can knock down jumpers, but that’s not our primary game. We have to get to the basket,” Snyder said. “Credit to St. Pete, they did what most teams should have been doing all season, and that’s play us in a 2-3 zone.”
Ja’Marcus Russ had 15 points and gave St. Pete fits in the first half. But he scored just four in the second half.
Hart finished with 21 points, nine from the free-throw line.
“We went out there and didn’t execute the game plan Coach told us to do, and that hurt us,” said Hart, who also had three blocks and four steals. “They hit their shots. I give them credit; they came to play.”
Afterward, Snyder gave Hart credit for the Chiefs recent postseason success, which included a 2011 trip to the region final. Hart scored more than 2,000 points and Chamberlain made the playoffs each of his four seasons, the longest streak in school history.
“Reggie’s been whatever we’ve needed him to be for four years” said Snyder, “and that’s makes him the best player in Hillsborough County.”
7A: Second half a disaster for East Bay
GIBSONTON — Bartow outscored East Bay 47-16 in the second half on the shoulders of Christopher Perry and Kerry Jones as the Indians had their playoffs hoped dashed 77-39 in Class 7A region semifinal action.
Perry, the towering 6-foot-8 Yellow Jacket senior who is heading to USF in the fall, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, adding seven rebounds as well. It was a complete turnaround for the forward who had completed only 1-of-5 in the first half and racked up three quick fouls.
“They made a run that we didn’t respond to, and it’s as simple as that,” said coach Billy Teeden, whose Indians finished 21-6. “They are a good team, a great team. And we let the momentum of their run get to us, and we didn’t respond well.”
At halftime, Bartow had just a seven-point lead with the difference coming from East Bay’s performance at the free-throw line.
Despite drawing six team fouls from the Yellow Jackets in the first quarter alone, the Indians were just 2-for-9 from the line, failing to capitalize on multiple scoring chances.
Yet when the ball was passed in to start the third, East Bay was down just 30-23. That was when the Bartow offense opened up.
The Yellow Jackets (26-3) kicked off a 21-5 run in the first six minutes led by Perry, Jones and Ricky Williams that was finally broken up by a Jonathan Jean free throw with just 1:34 left in the third. By then, however, the damage was done, as Bartow had taken a commanding 51-29 lead and finished the quarter up 55-32.
Bartow never looked back, shooting 64 percent from the floor compared to East Bay’s 25.
Perry and Williams finished with 17 points each and split 11 rebounds between each other while Jones added 10 for Bartow. Mike Washington and M.J. Williams each had 11 points for East Bay while Jean chipped in eight of his own.
8A: Wildcats romp late
At Sarasota Riverview, Wharton (23-4) exploded for 21 fourth-quarter points to clinch its second region finals berth in three seasons with a 55-41 win. Wharton can earn the program’s inaugural final four trip with a victory at home Saturday against Orlando University.
Tied with the Rams at 21-all at halftime, the Wildcats scored the first nine points of the third, watched their lead dwindle to three early in the fourth, then pulled away.
Jaken Grier’s traditional three-point play gave the Wildcats a 37-31 lead early in the fourth. A Sir Patrick Reynolds basket off a C.J. McGill assist followed before McGill (13 points) sank a pair of free throws, giving Wharton a 41-31 lead with roughly five minutes to play. Wharton’s lead never fell below nine the rest of the way.
McGill, a 5-foot-9 senior point guard, eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career early in the game, becoming only the fourth player in school history to reach the milestone.
6A: Sickles has no answer for Largo's Hale
LARGO — In his brief time in the spotlight, Largo’s Donavan Hale has skillfully fused it all, delivering meaningful plays with maximum effect.
In a Class 6A region semifinal game, Hale scored 27, including six 3-pointers to secure Largo’s most significant win of the season, a 54-51 victory over Sickles.
Hale did it against a Gryphons defense that deployed every means imaginable to stop him.
Sickles (25-5) sent double teams and shadowed him everywhere he went.
“We knew coming in that Donavan was a great player and great shooter,” Sickles coach Renaldo Garcia said. “Our guys needed to know where he was at all times. I think some of his shots were deeper than we anticipated, especially that last 3-pointer he made.”
The Gryphons had some sharpshooters of their own. Raymond Santiago (18 points) and Brett Westwood (14) each had four 3-pointers. Westwood hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left that cut the deficit to 52-51.
But Hale made four free throws in the final minute, including the final two with two seconds remaining that sealed the game.
5A: Jesuit overwhelms Gibbs
ST. PETERSBURG — The last time Gibbs and Jesuit met was in a preseason game at St. Petersburg High. The Gladiators missed two free throws in the final seconds and the Tigers won by a point.
The second meeting was a much different story.
Jesuit scored the first 10 points of the Class 5A region semifinal to quiet the Gibbs crowd and eventually cruised to a 65-38 win. The Tigers (28-1) have won all 28 games by 10 points or more. They face Lake Wales on Saturday.
“That was extremely important,” Jesuit senior guard Joey Galvis said of his team’s start. “We always want to start out hot. When we start off like that it just keeps us going.”
Gibbs (23-6) did not fold after the 10-0 start. The Gladiators scored the next six and only trailed 14-11 after the first quarter. But Jesuit started using its size and depth to pull away.
Leading 17-13 midway through the second, the Tigers went on an 11-0 run to end the half. Devin Harris had two layups, Isaiah Omoregie converted a three-point play, and Galvis scored on a layup during the run.
“We talked about getting off to a big start in a hostile environment,” Jesuit coach Neal Goldman said. “We asserted our defense early and it gave us a nice cushion.”
Leading 28-13 to start the third, Jesuit continued to pour it on. But the Tigers also got some help from Gibbs. The Gladiators started to attack the basket and forced Jesuit to foul. But they missed nine of 10 free throws to start the half.
“We executed our game plan to start the third quarter but the frustrating part was we couldn’t make the free throws,” Gibbs coach Larry Murphy said. “It might have made a difference, but really, the better team won tonight.”
Jesuit ended the third with two emphatic dunks by Harris and Omoregie, and another Omoregie layup. Omoregie led all scorers with 16 points.
The fourth quarter was a formality. Jesuit continued to score at will and ended the game on a 13-6 run.
Travis Johnson had 13 points for the Tigers and Harris added 10. Gibbs was led by 10 from Shaquille Speights and nine each from Barry Brown and Daniel Davis.
“We’ve been really well balanced,” Goldman said. “We can go inside, we can shoot the 3s. That’s why we have a really good team. I think we have the whole package here.”
3A: Durham, Heath help Terps cruise
TAMPA — Tampa Prep’s Juwan Durham made it sound easy. And it was.
A 6-foot-9 freshman, Durham teamed with Josh Heath for 40 points and the defending Class 3A state champion Terrapins moved a step closer to the final four with a speedy 76-40 rout Tuesday night over Lakeland McKeel Academy.
In a game that was completed in only one hour, Tampa Prep (27-2) hit McKeel with a 19-0 burst that began late in the first quarter to take control. The Wildcats (21-9) missed 10 shots in a row as a 10-9 deficit became 29-9. Tampa Prep was sharp offensively, making 12 of its first 16 shots and finishing 33 of 57 (57.9 percent). A running clock was used in the final 51/2 minutes once the Terrapins pushed their lead to 70-35.
“We wanted to go inside, outside — just put the ball in the rim,” said Durham, who scored a game-high 22. “I really wasn’t paying attention to (my) points. I just tried to help my team out.”
Adonis Rwabigwi (13 points) and Durham dominated inside. Of Durham’s 11 field goals, 10 came within 10 feet, including five layups and three dunks. He scored 16 after halftime.
The game was a rematch of last year’s region semifinal, when Tampa Prep posted a 76-44 win.
Dwayne Bacon scored 18 points and Kendall Barnes 10 for McKeel, which was held to 30.6 percent shooting. Bacon and Barnes were the only Wildcats to score until 45 seconds remained in the first half.
2A: TBC's season ends with rout
TAMPA — Tampa Bay Christian was shut down by the vigorous defense of Lake Wales Vanguard, ending the Rams’ season with a 68-50 loss.
Vanguard’s game plan was to shut down Tampa Bay Christian sophomore Bryant Searcy. The 6-foot-5 guard’s dribble penetration has allowed senior center Dan Manzi to flourish all season. By cutting off Searcy, Vanguard was able to control the game.
“We executed the game plan to perfection tonight,” Vanguard coach Dan Sheppard said. “We wanted to stop Searcy from getting inside, and we did. That made Manzi play out near the perimeter and we were able to pressure them really well.”
Vanguard got 20-point performances from Thierry Frederic and Jean Remy Esor, but this game was all about defense. The Panthers limited Searcy and Manzi to a combined 19 points and forced the Rams into tough shots from the perimeter as Tampa Bay Christian shot 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
“That was the best defensive performance anyone has put up against us all season,” Rams coach Don Grantham said. “They were well prepared for us. They dictated the game. I think we missed some easy shots early and that got into our heads.
“In the end, it was a tough season in a lot of ways, but this is a great group of young men that have overcome a lot just to get here.”
Staff writers John C. Cotey, Bob Putnam and Rodney Page, and correspondents Michael Hinman, Don Jensen and David Rice contributed to this report.