ST. PETERSBURG — A key injury hampered Shorecrest in the fourth quarter, and St. John Neumann rallied from eight points down to defeat the host Chargers 60-56 Thursday in the 2A region quarterfinals.
Late in the third quarter, Chargers junior Elias Chaconas ran into the padded wall at one end of the court while he and the Celtics' Josh Hardy chased a loose ball. Chaconas, who had 21 points, including four 3-pointers, remained motionless for a few minutes.
"He was knocked out for a short period of time," said Shorecrest coach Daryl Blume, who noted that Chaconas was moving his extremities. "He was mad because he wanted to come back in the game."
Paramedics transported Chaconas to an undisclosed hospital.
At the time of the delay, which lasted about a half hour, Shorecrest (13-14) held a seven-point advantage, one it increased to a 51-43 lead.
But that's when the Celtics went on a 13-0 run that carried into the fourth period and put the team up by five with less than 1:45 left in the game.
Junior guard Ricky Quiroz ended the dry spell for the Chargers with a 3-pointer.
Down 59-56, the momentum appeared to swing in favor of Shorecrest as Gray missed two shots from the free-throw line and Mike Corso was called for a foul. But the Chargers couldn't sink the front end of a one-and-one with just more than 30 seconds remaining. Senior center Josh Hardy then hit a free-throw shot to put the Celtics up by four.
Chaconas' 21 points was the high for the Chargers, followed by Quiroz, who scored 18.