Fourth time's the charm for TC
TAMPA — Tampa Catholic may have stumbled upon a new strategy for the region playoffs: Lose to the same team three times beforehand and set up a fourth game deep against the same team at its gym.
Tampa Catholic rallied twice to run past Berkeley Prep for a 63-52 win Tuesday night in the Class 3A region semifinals.
"I don't think it's a good strategy, but it worked for us," Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said jokingly.
Tampa Catholic (20-8) overcame big Berkeley leads twice in the first half. The Bucs (20-8) opened the game with a 9-0 run. But behind the play of senior guard Lashawn Harrison and key outside shooting from Antonio Rubio, Tampa Catholic quickly chipped away.
After Tampa Catholic took the lead at the end of the first, it was Berkeley's turn to heat up again. Reggie Barnes helped the Bucs go on a 14-4 run and seize an eight-point advantage midway through the quarter. But the Bucs allowed Tampa Catholic to rally in the second half and pull away.
Berkeley pulled within seven in the fourth but Tampa Catholic nailed 12 of its 16 free throws to keep the Bucs at bay.
Tampa Catholic had four scorers in double figures, led by Harrison's 15 points. Rubio, Isiah Thomas and Chivarsky Corbett each added 10. Berkeley was led by Barnes' 14 points and Justin Gray's 10.
"We just hung in there and kept plugging away," Dziagwa said. "…And maybe our strategy was that we were tired of losing to them."
Rod Gipson, Times correspondent