WESLEY CHAPEL — It took only 36 minutes and eight lead changes to decide the winner between Tampa Catholic and Wiregrass Ranch at a packed gymnasium Tuesday night.
The teams played within a basket of each other for the final 4:35 in regulation and the entire overtime session, but the Crusaders escaped with a 74-71 win behind 32 points, nine steals, five rebounds and five assists from senior guard Lashawn Harrison.
“Anybody who paid to get in got their money’s worth tonight,” Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said.
“That was a great high school basketball game. We started off really good, but (Wiregrass) played really well in the second quarter. (Harrison) hit some very clutch shots for us.”
The Crusaders (1-0) jumped out in front in the first quarter off a 14-2 run. Wiregrass settled down in the second quarter and tied the game at 33 right before halftime with an incredible off-balance shot from guard Jon Colon.
Wiregrass (0-1) eventually took a 59-58 lead on a Michael Chase (16 points) layup with 3:50 remaining in the game. The squads exchanged baskets in the fourth quarter and each had opportunities to end the game in regulation.
Harrison took over in overtime scoring five points, including the go-ahead basket with 45.1 left to give Tampa Catholic a 73-71 lead.