SEFFNER —Seffner Christian won its fourth district championship in eight years, defeating Bradenton Christian 61-47 in Saturday's Class A, District 8 final.
Coach Greg Fawbush, with the team for all those championships, says this year's stands out.
"All wins feel different and special in their own way," Fawbush said. "But to get this young team together and win feels very special to me."
A team made up of freshmen and sophomores did the job for the Crusaders (21-6), showing composure in an evenly matched game.
With five straight Crusader points to open the game, there was a quick response by the Panthers to score just as many on turnovers.
Neither team built a substantial lead, but the Crusaders found themselves ahead 26-20 at halftime.
It was not until the Crusaders defensive plan kicked in that they started to pull away from the Panthers (21-7). That plan included freshman Sabrina Whiting, who had seven steals.
"I knew coming out that we had to play good defense and that I had to be aggressive," said Whiting.
The Panthers trailed 46-34 late in the third quarter. With sophomore Hailey Dearlove held to eight points, it was tough for the Panthers to generate much offense.
Whiting had 21 points for the Crusaders and Tesha Henson chipped in 14. Panthers junior Rachel Brown added 14 points.
The Crusaders host Winter Haven All Saints' in the region quarterfinals Thursday.