TAMPA — Defending Tampa Hoops Classic champion Orlando Olympia eliminated Clearwater in the quarterfinals of the holiday boys basketball tournament Saturday night, beating the previously unbeaten Tornadoes 65-44.
A disastrous third quarter killed any hope Clearwater (9-1) had as it was outscored 23-2 and went without a single basket from the field for the period.
"We lost our patience in the second half," Clearwater coach Allen Carden said. "When you start getting behind like that you need to slow the game down, but we didn't do that and we wound up taking some ill-advised shots. The basket seemed like it had a cover on it that quarter, and the whole thing just started snowballing."
The Tornadoes started the game well and at one point just before halftime led 24-20. Olympia finished the half on a 7-0 run, however, and it continued into the second half.
Clearwater's most effective player in the first half was Julian Sargent, who had 10 points going into the break. But in the second half Olympia increased its defensive pressure and Sargent was unable to score.
"They were much better with their double teams in the second half," Carden said. "Inside, they killed us and we just couldn't hit anything from outside."
In the fourth quarter, chants of "finish with pride" came from behind the Clearwater bench. Carden's team did outscore Olympia 18-15 in the final period, but it was too little too late.
A key factor to Olympia's success was its dominant rebounding performance. The Titans had 18 offensive rebounds and 29 on the defensive end to finish with a 47-34 edge over Clearwater.
Despite the outcome, Carden remained optimistic.
"We've had one bad quarter in 10 games," Carden said. "We're still a good basketball team, and I think the kids can learn from this. We'll get back together and go on another run like we did to get here."
So Olympia advances to Monday's semifinals, where it will face Gainesville, a 70-52 winner over Jefferson. Chicago North Lawndale beat Bartow 78-61 and advances to play Cincinnati Princeton, 79-78 overtime winner over Winter Springs.
Also, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer beat King 79-54.