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2A state basketball: Tampa Prep turned away in semis yet again

Tampa Prep’s Jake Haslam shoots over Summit Christian’s Brice Jenkins in the second half. In OT, Haslam was called for a foul that gave the Saints their shot to seal the win.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR | Special to the Times

Tampa Prep’s Jake Haslam shoots over Summit Christian’s Brice Jenkins in the second half. In OT, Haslam was called for a foul that gave the Saints their shot to seal the win.

LAKELAND — Longtime Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon has grown used to the disappointment of leaving the Lakeland Center empty-handed. In four previous trips to the state final four, the Terrapins have gone home disappointed.

Heartbreak, however, reached a new high for the Terrapins on Thursday afternoon.

It was evident in the downtrodden look of Fenlon, a 534-game winner, on the Tampa Prep sideline at the final buzzer. It could be seen in the shell-shocked faces of a group of Terrapins players who simply couldn't find the words to describe what had happened after their Class 2A semifinal against West Palm Beach Summit Christian.

In a span of 13 ticks of the game clock, the Terrapins went from hope to anguish, from confident to confused, from pumping their fists to hanging their heads. Fenlon and his team likely will never forget the sound of the referee's whistle that blew with 0.4 seconds left in overtime in a tie game that see-sawed.

The Terrapins' fifth trip to the state semifinals ended Thursday, with a 58-56 overtime loss that was sealed from the free-throw line after senior guard Jake Haslam challenged Kyle Yong's last-second 3-point attempt and was whistled for a foul.

"There was so much emotion being swung from one side to the other," Fenlon said. "If that was a game in mid January, you'd say you'd learn from it, but the finality of it happening when it happened where it happened. …It was heartbreaking."

Haslam had just hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to tie the score with 13 seconds remaining. After Summit inbounded, there was a scramble for the ball at the top of the key. The ball rolled to Yong who scooped it up and launched the last shot, which was partially blocked by Haslam. Yong fell backward into the Summit bench and about a second later the whistle blew.

"I thought we were going to another overtime," Haslam said. "I got a hand up. If that's the call they made, then there's nothing you can change about it. If that's how he sees it, that's how he sees it."

Fenlon tried to choose his words carefully after the game.

"I'll be interested to see the tape," he said. "Kids watch a lot of ESPN. They watch a lot of TV. They know how to bait fouls. Yes, I saw contact, but it wasn't the same contact that other people might have seen."

The Terps (26-5), led by junior Jay Bowie's 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals, took a 49-45 lead with 2:13 remaining in regulation. The Saints (28-4) tied it at the free-throw line, but Tampa Prep held them scoreless for the final 1:16 in regulation..

"All I ever ask of the kids is to give themselves an opportunity to win, and I think we gave ourselves and opportunity in the end," Fenlon said. "The ball didn't fall our way in the end."

fast facts

State tournament

All games at the Lakeland Center. Admission is $9 per session. Parking is $7.

Thursday's results

Class 6A

Miami Coral Reef 68,

Lantana Santaluces 48

Orlando Olympia 63,

Winter Park 44

Class 4A

Springstead 61,

Pensacola 49

Cocoa 61, Bartow 52

Class 2A

West Palm Beach Summit Christian 58, Tampa Prep 56 (OT)

Arlington Country Day 65, Eastpoint Franklin County 59

Today's finals

Class 5A

Clearwater vs. Gainesville, 7 p.m.

Class 3A

Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest vs. Orlando Jones, 3:30 p.m.

Class A

Boca Raton Grandview Prep vs. Orlando Christian Prep, noon

Directions: Take I-4 East to Exit 31 (Kathleen Road). Turn right on Kathleen Road and continue on Sikes Boulevard. Bear right at the yield sign and turn right at the second traffic light (Lime Street). Lakeland Center is on the right.

On the Web

If you can't get to Lakeland to watch area teams, check out highschool.tampabay.com for our live blog, photo galleries and video highlights.

Summit Christian58
Tampa Prep56


Overtime

2A state basketball: Tampa Prep turned away in semis yet again 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 10:43pm]
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