TAMPA — For the third consecutive year, Tampa Catholic and St. Petersburg Catholic met to decide the Class 3A-10 district champion. And for the third consecutive time, the Crusaders took home the title.
Tampa Catholic used a quick start and a stingy defense for a 44-35 win over the Barons on Saturday night.
The Crusaders (23-4) jumped out to a quick 10-2 advantage in the first quarter and never trailed after the Barons scored the opening points of the game. SPC (19-7) cut the lead to one midway through the second quarter.
The teams traded baskets for the rest of the game as the Crusaders' largest lead never exceeded eight points until the game's final minute.
"I'll take a win over SPC any day," Tampa Catholic coach Nancy Kroll said. "It's huge to now have home court advantage and I will expect to see them again."
Senior Megan Keough shook off a cold shooting night from the floor to lead the Crusaders with a game-high 19 points, including nine from the stripe. Kai Jones chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brittney Dunbar led the Barons with 17 points and Annie Artise had 11.
"Winning the district title was again one of our main goals before the season started," Kroll said. "We only had three players score in the second half but luckily it was enough."