Class 3A Crusaders hang tough for three quarters
FORT MYERS — It would have been easy for Tampa Catholic to be satisfied with just making the playoffs and view Thursday's Class 3A region quarterfinal at Fort Myers Bishop Verot as little more than a chance to gain some postseason experience.
Instead, the young Crusaders gave the host Vikings everything they could handle for 31/2 quarters before fading to a 65-47 defeat.
Tampa Catholic (9-19) trailed by just three entering the final quarter and was down 46-41 with 6:50 to play. Bishop Verot's trio of seniors — Brennan Melvin, Etienne Effenberg and Jesse Kane — took over down the stretch, spurring a 19-5 run that secured the game for the Vikings (21-8).
"They had nothing to lose," said Bishop Verot coach Matt Herting of the Crusaders, who don't have a senior on their roster. "(Don Dziagwa's) a real good coach. I knew they wouldn't just come in here and lay down. They had a real good game plan."
Junior guard David Gonzalez led Tampa Catholic with 15 points and freshman guard Austin Aikens added nine. Melvin scored a game-high 26 for the Vikings.
Dan Deluca, Special to the Times