TAMPA — Another comeback was too much, even for St. Petersburg Catholic.
Trailing Tampa Catholic by nine in the first half and seven in the second Tuesday, the Barons managed to storm back. But when Tampa Catholic pulled away from a 50-50 tie with a little more than four minutes remaining, St. Petersburg Catholic was out of comebacks.
Tampa Catholic outlasted its archrival, defeating St. Petersburg Catholic 60-54 in the Class 3A region semifinals.
St. Petersburg Catholic, which lost its four games to the Crusaders (27-2) this year by a combined 17 points, saw its season come to an end at 20-6.
"Tampa Catholic really played well and sometimes you can't control that," St. Petersburg Catholic coach Nick Vandewalle said. "And we made some mistakes, missed some of the few free throws we had. If we make those, it's a different game."
St. Petersburg Catholic guard Jerica Coley scored 23 but only one point came from the free-throw line. The Barons were 3-for-7 from the line.
The Barons rallied from a 24-15 deficit in the second period and 45-38 in the third. Trailing by six early in the fourth, Coley nailed a jumper and followed that with a three-point play to put the Barons ahead 48-47, their first lead since the opening period.
But a 50-50 tie a few moments later would be as close as the Barons would get to a victory. Sarah Brennan hit a key jump shot and Annie Dziagwa converted on a huge 3-point shot as Tampa Catholic outscored the Barons 10-4 down the stretch.
Brennan led Tampa Catholic with 21 points while Colette Eule added 15. Kelly McFarlane added 12 points for St. Petersburg Catholic.