TAMPA — New Year’s fireworks will shoot off a bit early this year in Tampa.
Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony, ranked No. 22 in the latest USA Today high school rankings, and Jacksonville Arlington Country Day won their semifinals at the Tampa Hoops Classic, setting up a highly anticipated championship matchup — 7 p.m. at Plant High — between two of the country’s marquee programs.
St. Anthony (5-0), which outscored Winter Springs 16-4 in the second quarter to take control, rolled to a 71-44 victory over Bears (10-2).
The St. Anthony duo of St. Bonaventure commit Elijah Carter and Richmond commit Derrick Williams torched the Bears for a combined 45 points.
“I don’t know, it’s the water, maybe it’s the sun, I don’t know what’s going on, but we’re playing in the championship,” St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said.
Arlington Country Day (10-2) bolted out to a 22-7 advantage after one quarter against Dr. Phillips. Three of the Indians’ first four baskets were dunks, and they had seven blocks in the first quarter.
Dr. Phillips (10-1) cut the lead to five by halftime but could never get closer than six points in the final quarter.
Cincinnati commit Justin Jackson, whom Hurley called “a high school version of Kevin Garnett,” scored 16, snared seven rebounds and had five blocks to lead the Indians.
In other tournament games, Tampa Prep dropped a 77-74 double-overtime decision to Dr. Krop. The Terrapins will host Clearwater at 3:15 p.m. today for seventh place.
Blake was soundly defeated 79-56 by Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in the Florida Elite Series.
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln defeated Clearwater 63-56. The Tornadoes will play Tampa Prep on the Terrapins’ home court for seventh place at 3:15 p.m.
Lakewood, which fell 62-47 to Baton Rouge (La.) Christian Life, is in the 11th-place game at Tampa Prep against Norfolk (Va.) Christian at 1:30 p.m.