FORT MYERS — Struggling for the first three quarters of Tuesday's Class 3A region semifinal at Bishop Verot, Berkeley Prep caught fire in the final eight minutes. Unfortunately for the Bucs, it wasn't enough as the Vikings hung on for a 53-50 victory.
Berkeley (23-6) trailed 40-26 entering the fourth quarter before senior guard Johnathan Gray led a 20-8 surge with a trio of 3-pointers, the last of which cut the Bucs' deficit to 48-46 with 3:35 left.
"John Gray is a great player," Bishop Verot coach Matt Herting said. "I thought we did a good job on him the whole game. Some of the shots he hit, they were remarkable shots."
Gray, who scored a game-high 22 points, got a helping hand from freshman guard Nelson Agholor (10 points), who scored on a putback with 38 seconds left to tie the score at 50.
The Vikings (22-8) hit 3-of-4 free throws to build a three-point lead with 32.3 seconds remaining.
After Agholor missed a potential tying 3, the Bucs got one more chance with 12.3 seconds left after Bishop Verot senior forward Etienne Effenberg missed a pair of free throws. Vikings senior guard Brennan Melvin, however, intercepted a downcourt pass and Bishop Verot ran out the clock.
"Down by 14 and to come back and tie it, I'm proud of our kids," said Berkeley coach Bobby Reinhart. "They showed a lot of heart. We had a couple of chances but we didn't get the good looks we had been getting."