At Avon Park, Tampa Catholic (19-8) rallied from a horrific start with a 28-point third quarter en route to a 74-72 victory in the Class 3A region quarterfinals Thursday.
Senior Lashawn Harrison's 28 points led the Crusaders, who face Berkeley Prep for the fourth time this season in Tuesday's semifinals. Berkeley won the first three meetings.
Opening with a box-and-one gimmick defense on Harrison, the Red Devils scored the first 11 points. Behind freshman Isiah Thomas (16 points), the Crusaders gradually cut into Avon Park's lead and trailed 32-25 at the half.
"We just kind of chipped away at them," Crusaders coach Don Dziagwa said. "It wasn't like we did anything spectacular, we just chipped away."
Sparked by 6-foot-6 senior Antonio Rubio, who scored all nine of his points in the second half, the Crusaders entered the fourth quarter tied at 53-all.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer