TAMPA — With seven seconds to go before halftime, Tampa Prep starter Taz Strauch, having sat the previous three minutes because of foul trouble, reentered the Terrapins’ Class 3A region semifinal against Brooks DeBartolo with his team trailing by two points.
The Phoenix led for the majority of the first half, but Strauch swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Terrapins a 28-27 advantage — their first lead in nearly eight minutes — at the break.
Strauch’s shot turned out to be the boost Tampa Prep needed.
The Terrapins never trailed after halftime and outscored the Phoenix 28-9 in the fourth to run away to a 73-50 victory.
“Just executing the last possession of the half gave us momentum going in,” Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. “Whether we had the lead or not, the kids felt comfortable.”
The game was decidedly uncomfortable in the first half for Tampa Prep (25-3), which had defeated Brooks DeBartolo (20-9) in three previous meetings. The Phoenix forced the Terps into ill-advised shots and grabbed a 22-17 lead — their largest — midway through the second quarter after a 3 by Jarred Anderson (team-high 19 points).
Tampa Prep made a concerted effort to get the ball to 6-foot-9 center Juwan Durham after halftime, and the Terps went on a 11-2 run after the break, Durham scoring nine of the 11, to build a 10-point lead. Brooks DeBartolo responded with a 12-4 spurt to cut the lead to two and trailed by four at the end of three.
The Phoenix, however, ran out of gas in the final quarter. Terps freshman Amari Goulbourne (12 points) sank two free throws to push the lead to double digits, and Durham hit a bucket with four minutes remaining to cap a 14-1 run to start the fourth.
“I knew (Brooks DeBartolo wasn’t) going to give up,” Durham said. “We just had to keep playing hard.”
Durham scored 23 points and made 9-of-11 free throws after halftime to tie a season high for points with 35 to go with 11 rebounds. Michael Fridella added 12 points for the Terrapins.
Michael Obi and Brenden Huynh each scored nine points for Brooks DeBartolo.