TAMPA — Tampa Prep was upset last season in the 2A region semifinals by a Calvary Christian team the Terrapins had beaten three times in three tries earlier in the season.
With that game in the back of their heads a year later against Indian Rocks Christian in the same playoff round, the Terrapins jumped on the Golden Eagles from the outset Tuesday and didn't let up in a 71-47 rout.
Tampa Prep owned a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Indian Rocks Christian entering the region semifinal, including a win in the district final 10 days ago.
"I think the fact that we did lose to them helped us stay focused," Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. "… No matter how hard you try to focus kids, if they've never tasted defeat to a team and they're comfortable with a team, it's really hard sometimes."
Tampa Prep (25-4) opened on a 15-5 run, forcing IRC (18-11) to burn two timeouts in the first six minutes. Jordan Heath's 3-pointer to start the second quarter gave the Terrapins a 10-point cushion. IRC cut the lead to nine with two minutes left in the half, but Terrapins forward Jay Bowie immediately responded with a basket and a foul to push the lead to double digits. IRC never came within 11 points the rest of the game.
Bowie had a double double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Cherry contributed 14 points. Jake Haslam had only three points but sparked an aggressive defense that denied IRC open shot attempts.
"If you're going to have an opportunity to advance in the tournament, your better kids have to show up in big games," Fenlon said.
Freshman guard Devonte Morgan scored a game-high 17 for the Terrapins.
"Devonte's tough," Fenlon said. "He's gotten better every week."