CLEARWATER — Allen Carden likes his basketball fast and furious, entertaining and effective.
But the Clearwater coach's fondness for uptempo basketball was not always on display against Largo in Thursday night's Class 5A region quarterfinal.
The Tornadoes were plodding on offense, rugged on defense.
Nevertheless, after a slow start the result was Clearwater cruising to another victory, 57-42. Clearwater (23-5), which has won 14 straight, hosts Gibbs in Tuesday's region semifinals.
"It was a different kind of game than we're used to playing," Carden said. "We're used to scores in the 70s and 80s. This time we really had to grind it out."
The Packers got hot from the outside early as Marques Hall hit two 3-pointers to help them go ahead 12-9 in the first quarter.
Then the momentum changed.
The Tornadoes started playing defense and Okaro White made his presence known around the basket. For a nearly four-minute stretch Largo was shut out. White was scoring inside, including a two-handed jam off an alley-oop that capped an 8-0 run.
"For some reason, we were tentative and didn't match the electricity in the gym," Carden said. "But we were still able to grind it out on offense and our unsung hero was our defense."
The Packers were held to their lowest point total of the season. And Largo's three biggest offensive threats — Breon Bostic, Patrick Kearney and Darron McNeil — scored a combined 25 points.
White led Clearwater with 14.
"We're going to get into these types of games in the playoffs," Carden said. "We just know we have to play better."