ST. PETERSBURG — Six years ago, Jeremy Crane was hired at Osceola, inheriting a team that was in the midst of a 39-game losing streak. Crane turned the once downtrodden program into a viable one with four straight seasons of double-digits in wins.
The expectations are now higher. The Warriors believe they can contend for a playoff berth. So it was unsettling for Osceola to find itself trailing host Northside Christian by four at the half in Tuesday's nondistrict game.
The Warriors regained their composure, dialed up the pressure and erased the deficit to win 51-41.
"We were a little hesitant, a little stagnant in the first half," Crane said. "By the third quarter we started playing a faster level than (Northside) is used to, and our fullcourt press helped us create some turnovers."
Cotye Curry played a pivotal role in the comeback, scoring 10 of his team-high 21 in the third quarter. The Mustangs finished with 30 turnovers.
Shorecrest 69, Jesuit 68: Jesuit, the Class 5A defending state champion, and Class 3A Shorecrest squared off Tuesday in a battle of unbeatens. By the third quarter, the only question for the host Tigers, it seemed, was if Christian Whidden would break the single-game 3-point record.
He didn't and, more surprisingly, Jesuit (2-1) could not hold onto a lead as the Chargers rallied.
"We've got a pretty good team, as you see, so we're ratcheting up the schedule," Shorecrest coach Daryl Blume said. "This is a pretty big notch. It shows we can compete with some of the better schools."
Shorecrest (3-0) trailed by 10 early in the third quarter, but fought back with a 13-4 run in the third quarter and later took a 63-61 lead on an Aundre Fredericks layup that capped an 11-3 run in the final quarter. But Jesuit countered with Kyle Sahlsten's 3-pointer for a 64-63 lead.
That's when Brady Grimm took over by nailing a trey and following up with a steal and layup for a 68-64 lead. Grimm finished with 32 points, which included four treys, and the Chargers remained unbeaten despite Brent Fenlon's layup at the buzzer.
Whidden scored a game-high 38, including seven 3-pointers to come within two of the school record.
Largo 80, Countryside 32: The Packers started their season with a rout over the rebuilding Cougars.
Andrew Murphy scored 19 and Donavan Hale added 11 to lead Largo. A running clock was used in the fourth quarter.
"It was a good start," Packers coach Phil Price said. "We got up big and everybody got to play. The only thing we didn't do well was shoot, but we're always like that."
Calvary Christian 85, Northeast 84 (3OT): Paxton Wilson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the third overtime to lead the host Warriors to a nondistrict win.
Wilson, who finished with 15 points, was among four freshmen who accounted for 65 of Calvary's 85 points. Northeast's Keith Harrington and Eric Pederson each finished with 28.
Correspondent Steve Lee contributed to this report.