ST. PETERSBURG — Admiral Farragut coach Sylvio Brutus knows Northside Christian's offense runs through 6-foot-7 Kyle Keck.
So at the start of Tuesday's game, the Blue Jackets paid more attention to Keck and less attention to everyone else. Using its strength and quickness, Admiral Farragut neutralized the Mustangs' big man, denying him passes, muscling him off the low post and boxing him off the glass.
The heightened defensive intensity helped the Blue Jackets cruise to a 60-40 victory to secure the top seed in Class 2A, District 11.
"Our primary goal was to take away their first option," Brutus said of Keck. "We were able to keep the ball away from him, and that helped us out in the long run."
For most of the game, the Mustangs struggled to establish their offense. And on the few occasions when they had a chance for a layup or open shot, they couldn't find the basket.
Northside (7-9) was held to single digits in the first three quarters.
"It was just tough for us the whole night on offense," Mustangs coach Dave Madasz said. "We were missing layups and some gimme shots. We just couldn't get anything to fall for us."
On the defensive end, Northside matched Admiral Farragut's energy and grit. But the Blue Jackets (13-5) showed enough patience and balance to get by on offense.
Admiral Farragut had four players — Chris Myrick (17 points), Chance Russell (16), Josh Burch (12) and Daniel Solomon (10) — who reached double figures. The Blue Jackets also stayed out of foul trouble, a good thing considering injuries to three key reserves has reduced the roster to seven players.
"Northside played hard and did a good job defensively," Brutus said. "We just had to keep passing to get open looks."
Keck scored 10 and was the only Mustang in double figures.
In the girls game, Northside Christian jumped out to a big lead and cruised to a 57-25 victory. The Mustangs had 11 players score, led by Kayla Walton and Sammy Creel, who tied for the team lead with eight points each.