TAMPA — On a scale of 10, Tampa Catholic coach Nancy Kroll was asked to grade the Crusaders' first-quarter performance Thursday night.
"Nine," she said, emphatically.
The rest of the game wasn't bad, either.
Tampa Catholic never gave Avon Park a chance, using a 28-2 first-quarter run to ignite an 85-44 victory in a Class 3A region quarterfinal. Had it not been for a running clock throughout the fourth quarter, the Crusaders might have reached triple digits. Tampa Catholic (24-4) finished with a season high in points with its 21st consecutive victory.
Micah Kroll (24 points), Meghan Keough (19) and Kai Jones (17) led the Crusaders. Jones had an ankle wrapped after the game with what Kroll described as a "mild ankle sprain." But she is expected to be ready for Tuesday's semifinal.
Tampa Catholic scored at will, putting up 31 points in the first quarter and 27 in the third. Of the Crusaders' 32 field goals, 10 came from behind the arc from four players.
"We got off to a really good start," Kroll said. "We mixed up the press, had some nice steals (and) scored in transition. We played our brand of basketball."
Jones and Kroll combined for 24 points in Tampa Catholic's first-quarter blitz. Avon Park (20-7) never got within 20 the rest of the way.