TAMPA — Tampa Catholic sunk Berkeley Prep's Class 3A, District 11 title hopes Wednesday with a 74-34 thrashing on the Buccaneers' home court. The win sets up a third match against across-the-bay rival St. Petersburg Catholic in Friday's district final.
"I keep telling the girls, we need to stay focused, play our game and keep (St. Petersburg Catholic's Jerica) Coley off the offensive board," Crusaders coach Nancy Kroll said about the rematch. "We played very well in the first quarter the last time we played them."
The Crusaders beat the Barons both times this season. The Barons earned their spot in the final with a 55-45 defeat of Academy of the Holy Names.
Tampa Catholic jumped out to a 21-6 lead after the first quarter and added 22 points in the second. Berkeley Prep never closed the gap, posting 11 and 12 in the third and fourth quarters.
Sarah Brennan led all scorers in the first half with 16 points. She finished with a game-high 25 and missed only a handful of shots. Jalan Wishik led the Bucs with 13 first-half points, including a pair of 3-point baskets. Berkeley trailed 43-21 at the half.
"My big two, Collette (Eule) and Sarah, they got the job done," Kroll said. "I just feel we're an overall better team than St. Pete (Catholic)."
Eule scored 18 and grabbed five rebounds.
In the first game of the day, St. Petersburg Catholic had an early lead but fell apart near the end of the first half.
The Jaguars picked off two passes just before the half as they tied the game at 18, closing a 16-10 gap.
The Barons regained the lead right away in the third period, nearly matching their point total from the first half with 16. Coley had 16 second-half points.