Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boys basketball: Tampa Prep beats Boca Ciega to win Northeast tourney

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon hoped his team's hot shooting and stifling defense would continue in the final of the Northeast Christmas Invitational on Saturday night. Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman hoped his team's habit of starting slowly would end.

Only Fenlon got his wish.

The Terrapins blitzed the Pirates with 40 first-half points, including eight 3-pointers, then held on to win 71-61.

"Going into the (Friday semifinal against Wharton), we could've come out of here with two losses," Fenlon said. "This was a very strong field. So to win this is very nice. Collectively, we had guys step up.

"You never know who it's going to be from game to game."

Against Boca Ciega (14-2), it was senior guard Josh Heath. He scored a team-high 17 points before fouling out with three minutes to play. Heath was named the tournament's most valuable player.

But the real catalyst was senior guard Andy Fullerton. Fullerton drilled all four first-half 3-pointers he attempted, including three in the first quarter that gave Tampa Prep (15-0) the lead. After the first quarter, the Terrapins led 19-11, and nine of those points were from Fullerton.

The lead continued to grow in the second quarter behind two 3-pointers from Heath, one from Ephraim Lavey and another from Fullerton. By halftime, the Terrapins led 40-18 and looked in control.

"We've just been notorious this year for slow starts," Shuman said. "It got to us tonight. You can't spot them 22 points. We just dug ourselves a big hole. You're not going to come back against good teams when you do that. We have to figure it out."

Boca Ciega did not give up, however.

Five minutes into the third quarter, it trailed by 22 but slowly chipped away. It ended the quarter on an 11-0 run that cut the lead to 47-33. During that run, Dallas Moore got hot and made three jumpers, including a 15-footer at the buzzer to take momentum into the fourth quarter.

"Usually, the third quarter is our best quarter," Fenlon said. "But we let them back into the game in the third quarter."

The Pirates continued to hang around and cut the lead to 10 thanks to a Joe Lampley basket, a technical foul on Tampa Prep and a 3-pointer from Moore. Moore ended with a game-high 29 points.

The lead was cut to 61-54 midway through the fourth quarter when Moore hit a 3-pointer from almost 10 feet behind the line.

The closest the Pirates got was six points, when Moore converted two free throws after another Terrapins technical foul. But the Terrapins were able to break Boca Ciega's press and get easy layups to put the game away.

"We fought back," Shuman said. "We played hard. It's almost like the guys are thinking, 'Hey, we might lose.' And then they start to play. Well, sometimes it's too late to do that."

Fullerton said he figured the game would play into his 3-point shooting strength.

"It was going to be a fast-paced game, and when it's like that, I can get some (3-point) looks," Fullerton said. "Josh (Heath) is good at finding me. I just had to knock them down."

Aside from Heath, Lavey and Bern­hard Woodside were named to the all-tournament team. Boca Ciega's Michael Clark and Moore also were all-tournament selections. Clark had 17 points for the Pirates.

Double-digit scorers for Tampa Prep were Juwan Durham, who had 13 points, and Fullerton and Lavey, who had 12.

Rodney Page can be reached at

Boys basketball: Tampa Prep beats Boca Ciega to win Northeast tourney 12/29/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 30, 2012 12:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.

  3. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  4. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings
  5. USF journal: Record night for Bulls, QB Quinton Flowers


    TAMPA — They've pulled it off with offensive fizz and defensive flatness, and vice versa. They've achieved it on North Dale Mabry and neutral sites. They've attained it sloppily and convincingly.

    Quinton Flowers, right, sets the USF record for career rushing touchdowns against Temple, getting his 33rd and 34th.