TAMPA — Bishop Verot's slow pace of play stymied Tampa Catholic in the early going Thursday, but the Crusaders eventually took control for a 44-36 win.
"I didn't think (Verot) would hold the ball like they did," Tampa Catholic coach Nancy Kroll said. "But we're going to win at any style we play."
Sarah Brennan, the Crusaders' second-leading scorer with 10 points, opened the second quarter by scoring in the paint that cut the deficit to one.
A pair of buckets by junior Colette Eule sparked the Crusaders momentum as Annie Dziagwa's 3-pointer pushed Tampa Catholic ahead by seven, its first advantage since the game's opening basket.
Despite winning the contest underneath the boards, Bishop Verot's failed second efforts paired with turnovers forced by the Crusaders' aggressive trap defense prevented the Vikings from regaining another lead.
Tampa Catholic's offense, led by Micah Kroll with 11 points, however, continued to hit shots and extend the lead.
Off of a Bishop Verot turnover, Kroll nailed a 3 to put the Crusaders up by 10 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Vikings answered with two three-point plays, but Eule sealed the win with a pair of late free throws.
"I'm very pleased. This was a big victory for Tampa Catholic girls basketball," Kroll said.