Playing without two of its best players, including last year's leading scorer, didn't stop Jesuit from capturing the SEBA summer league championship as the Tigers cruised past Tampa Catholic 51-39 in Wednesday's final at Tampa Prep.
The Tigers, who wrapped up the summer season 9-1, beat Wharton in the semifinals 47-46 in sudden death, and then 30 minutes later jumped ahead of the rival Crusaders 21-5 and cruised.
Daniel Darst led the Tigers with 13, while Ryan Fleming added 11 and Lee Green scored 10.
Tampa Catholic's Tom Dziagwa led all scorers with 20.
Tampa Catholic beat Jefferson 69-66 in a semifinal.
The summer league is played with modified rules: four 10-minute quarters, with a running clock until the final two minutes; if you are fouled while shooting, you get one free throw but it counts for two points; first team to score in overtime wins.
TOP 12 PERFORMERS (from the final four):
1. Daniel Darst, Jesuit: The 6-foot-5 senior is no secret -- he averaged 14 points a game last season. But he was the best player in the two games Wednesday, and I'm not sure it was even close. If we were picking an MVP, he would be it. He was exceptional rebounding the ball against Wharton in the semifinals and scored 16 points, showing some range as well with a pair of three-pointers. When the Tigers got the ball in sudden death overtime, it worked the ball around until it could post Darst up, and once fed he powered his way to the hoop and drew a foul, making the game-winning free throw. Against Tampa Catholic, it was more of the same.
2. Lee Green, Jesuit: Did Green miss a shot Wednesday? No, seriously, I'm asking because I didn't see him miss one. The 6-foot-5 Green was terrific (like, MVP terrific if he had gotten a few more touches) on the low post, using deceptive athleticism to beat defenders to the glass. He showed a nice touch around the hoop, and wasn't afraid to use the backboard. He also blocked his share of shots. Probably the one guy that really jumped out, in my opinion.
3. Maurice Moore, Jefferson: If Moore had a few more inches on him, colleges would be on him. He's 6-foot-2 but plays much bigger, and uses his 200 pounds to have his way inside. He dominated at times inside against Tampa Catholic, even showing off a sweet little spin move at one point for an easy bucket. And while power moves to his hoop are his game, he also stepped out and hit a three, finishing with 17 points in the 69-66 loss.
4. Ryan Fleming, Jesuit: Great pair of games Wednesday night. He killed Wharton down the stretch of their semifinal, draining a pair of three-pointers within a minute of each other as the Tigers wiped out a 41-34 deficit. He then added 11 points in the final, a tidy reverse lay-up causing Crusader heads to hang low.
5. Tom Dziagwa, Tampa Catholic: Played out of control at times, but when Dziagwa isn't forcing things he is an exceptional scorer, both outside from beyond the arc and inside on his drives to the hoop. He outscored Jefferson 8-2 in the final 46 seconds in the semifinal, finishing with, unofficially, 27 points. Including his finals performance, he finished with a finals-high 47 points.
6. Kevin Knox, Tampa Catholic: Knox, a tall rangy 6-foot-6 shooter who had a nice summer, didn't play well in the final but was very good in the semifinals, scoring 20 and showing improved range on his three-pointers, sinking three of them. Also the school's starting quarterback, Knox has a good chance to have college scouts from both his sports drooling over him come 2016.
8. Vernon Jackson, Jefferson: Scored 17 points in the semifinal loss, including 10 in the second half, and you have to consider the Dragons backcourt (Jackson and Jenkins) one of the best in Tampa Bay heading into next season.
9. Phillip Malcolm, Wharton: Did a lot of nice things for the Wildcats, including showing a nice touch from the outside. He hit a trio of three-pointers in the semifinal loss to Jesuit, and all came at big moments.
10. Maxwell Thrice, Wharton: He was one of the best looking athletes out there, long enough at 6-foot-4 to be a headache for opposing teams on both ends of the court. He missed some inside buckets he should have converted against Jesuit or he could have had a monster game, but still finished with eight points, including a 18-footer at the buzzer that tied the game and sent it into overtime. He's an intriguing player to watch next winter.