SEFFNER — All season, Brandenton Christian had been the one team that Roger Duncan and Seffner Christian had not been able to figure out.
Losing to the Panthers a third time was just not an option in Duncan's mind, as him team pulled itself out of a 15-point deficit in the second quarter and stormed back to a 71-66 victory to claim the Class A-8 district championship Saturday night.
"I felt like my guys in the first half were waiting to get beat again," Duncan said. "I was just upset because I felt like we were not fighting. I told the guys I could handle losing if we fight, but I'm just so proud of my guys fighting for the win tonight."
In the second quarter Brandenton Christian (24-3) held a 37-22 advantage with 3:52 left before halftime but the Crusaders went on a 12-4 run led by Steven Cunningham (24 points) to end the first half.
Seffner Christian (15-8) shifted momentum in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 19-7 in the third quarter. Daniel Magley (18 points) tried to keep Brandenton Christian within striking distance of the Crusaders in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late as Seffner Christian hit its free throws down the stretch to seal the title.
Andy Villamarzo, Times correspondent