WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch coach Jeremy Calzone wasn't pleased after his Bulls' 94-75 thrashing of crosstown rival Wesley Chapel in Thursday night's Class 4A region quarterfinal.
The Bulls built a seemingly untouchable 52-26 advantage by halftime, but for almost the entire third quarter Wiregrass' hustle to rebounds and loose balls seem to evaporate.
The Bulls did eventually pull away, though, behind seven players in double digits, including 16 points from Rico Kerney.
"Well, I don't think my team believed what I was saying in the locker room," Calzone said.
"This is Wesley Chapel. It doesn't have anything to do with the playoffs. It has to do with them being 3 miles away. It's always a tough game when they played us."
Wiregrass jumped out to a 27-11 lead after the first quarter and continued to build on it in the second as senior guard James Tringali (10 points) at one point dished out four assists in a five-minute span.
Wiregrass took the foot off the pedal in the third quarter as Wesley Chapel guard Christian Parra (29 points) went off with 15 points in the quarter.
The sophomore brought the Wildcats (13-16) within 59-49 with 2:50 remaining in the third, but Wiregrass (22-7) came alive down the stretch.
The Bulls dominated the final quarter and face Nature Coast in Tuesday's region semifinals.
"Maybe it was a good thing we had to battle tonight because come Tuesday we're going to have to battle," Calzone said.
"I think Nature Coast is going to be ready come Tuesday night. Hopefully we come out ready to practice (Friday)."