TAMPA — Hillsborough basketball was nothing more than a stepping stone for the better part of two decades.
The Terriers last won a district title in 1996. Since 1986, the Terriers had reached the playoffs just twice, advancing out of the first round just once during a final four run in '96.
The Terriers are back.
Hillsborough's up-tempo offense, sharp shooting and determination to shut down Blake's key player lifted the Terriers to an 84-66 win and Class 5A, District 10 title.
The historical significance was not lost on Terriers such as Darrin Baker and Tarean Austin.
"We didn't see this coming since I've been at Hillsborough," Baker said. "Coach (Andre) Lewis came and we improved big time."
Despite the lopsided win, most were talking about the bigger picture and how Lewis took just two seasons to deliver a district title. Few could recall the last time Hillsborough had done it.
Lewis connected with his players, using his experience winning four state championships playing high school ball in Georgia. He also talked about what it took to play at Western Kentucky, in the CBA and overseas.
Hillsborough (20-8) had two goals Saturday night: wear out the Yellow Jackets (20-7) with a fast pace and shut down sharp-shooting guard Andre Smith, who was held to three points in the first half and 13 for the game.
The Terriers were led by Juan Washington and his game-high 29 points. They led by as many as 24, and never let the double-digit lead slip.