ST. PETERSBURG — Juwan Durham scored 24 and hauled in 21 rebounds as Tampa Prep held off Lennard 72-60 in Thursday's marquee first-round pairing of the Shorecrest Holiday boys basketball tournament.
Tampa Prep (9-1) will play Jacksonville Creekside (4-4), which handled Clearwater Central Catholic 61-48, in tonight's 6 p.m. semifinal. The later semifinal will pit host Shorecrest (10-2) against Pinellas Park. Shorecrest beat Clearwater 80-65, and Pinellas Park beat Academy at the Lakes 61-47.
Caelen Watts scored 25, 18 in the first half, for a Lennard team that never went away. But each time the Longhorns (10-3) threatened, Durham calmly had the answer.
"High school kids tend to get overemotional," Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. "Juwan is just stoic."
Using a press that caused 20 Terrapin turnovers, Lennard pulled within four in the third quarter. But Durham's putback, followed by a dunk, made it 47-37, and the 6-foot-9 center added one of his six blocks on Lennard's next possession.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Taz Strauch and Michael Fridella put Tampa Prep ahead 53-39 late in the third. Then when Lennard got within five at 57-52 with 5 minutes left, Durham scored on the next two possessions, punctuated with a fastbreak dunk.
"They withstood everything we threw at them. That's why they're so good," said Lennard coach Danny Gaddis, whose team got 21 points from Gary Hector and led after a frenetic first period.
"We kind of knew what we were getting into with them," Fenlon said. "They can frazzle your guards."
Strauch scored nine of his 14 points in the second quarter to put Tampa Prep ahead to stay, and Fridella finished with 19 points.
In the night's last game, Shorecrest showed it isn't the same team without leading scorer Brady Grimm. But it's still a plenty good one, as the Chargers stopped Clearwater.
Grimm, who has scored 30-plus points in three games this season, including 33 in a win against Jesuit, injured his hamstring last week.
"Hurts to lose 25 points a game and your best ball handler," said Shorecrest coach Daryl Blume, who could not say for sure what Grimm's status would be for a potential final against state-ranked Tampa Prep on Saturday. Grimm will definitely sit out tonight.
On Thursday, Clearwater trailed 33-21 and was in danger of being blown out before Terry Nicholes caught fire with seven points to make it 35-28 at the break.
But Marcus Blake and 6-foot-9 center Jay Joyer combined for 15 third-quarter points as the Chargers took a 13-point advantage into the fourth. Kenny DeVaul swished a pair of long 3-pointers to build the lead to 66-52 and the Chargers went up by as much as 18.
Joyer led the hosts with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. Blake finished with 16 points, and DeVaul and Chase Showalter scored 12 apiece.