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4A region basketball: Blake 55, Jesuit 32

TAMPA — The gym's tepid temperature was nothing compared to the heat Blake put on Jesuit on Tuesday night.

Blake used relentless defensive pressure on Jesuit's back court, holding the Tigers to a season low in points, and advanced to the Class 4A region final with a 55-32 victory.

The No. 2-ranked Yellow Jackets can earn a state berth Saturday at Fort Myers.

"All week, we've been working on defense," said senior guard Andre Smith, who led Blake with 21 points. "We wanted to stop them from scoring outside and make them have to work the ball inside."

Blake (27-2) broke open a tight game in the third quarter. Jack Fleming opened the second half with a 15-foot jumper to pull No. 9 Jesuit (24-5) within 25-23.

But the Yellow Jackets' defense took over, forcing the Tigers to miss their final 10 shots of the quarter. Blake closed the quarter with nine straight points.

The Yellow Jackets coasted after that, limiting Jesuit to only 11 second-half points. The Tigers finished with 20 turnovers and missed 23 of their final 29 field-goal attempts over the final three quarters.

"We played a little more aggressive defense," Blake coach Winston Davis said. "We pushed them outside, tried to take their guards out and overplay their big men inside."

Curtis Fountain added 12 points and Clarence Peterson 10 for Blake. Travis Johnson led Jesuit with 11 points, two in the second half.

Jesuit pulled within 41-29 with 31/2 minutes remaining, but the Yellow Jackets made 10 of 13 free throws to cement the victory.

4A region basketball: Blake 55, Jesuit 32 02/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 10:10pm]
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