TAMPA — St. Petersburg Catholic all-everything guard Jerica Coley was on her way to a record night Friday at Tampa Catholic, scoring 26 points in the first half to help the Barons build a 37-30 halftime lead.
But after seeing the Florida International-bound senior dismantle their press, the Crusaders went to a box-and-one at the start of the third quarter with sophomore center Star Steele and junior transfer Meghan Keough handling most of the defensive duties.
The two held Coley to only four points in the quarter as Tampa Catholic outscored SPC 19-6 on its way to a convincing 68-61 win.
"She's so quick and has such a good first step that we just tried to prevent her from getting the ball and just basically focused on shutting her down (in the second half)," said Keough, who scored 12 points and was one of four Tampa Catholic players to finish in double figures.
While Coley finished with a career-high 42 points after scoring 12 in the fourth, it was the impressive team defense of the Crusaders (8-1) combined with their balanced scoring that dictated the outcome.
Colette Eule and Sarah Brennan each had 20 points, and Micah Kroll added 11.
For the Barons (5-1), the next highest scorer behind Coley was Annie Artise with six points.
"We just didn't come out with the same intensity as we had in the first half," Coley said. "I've seen (a box-and-one) before but I just have to do a better job of getting the ball and being aggressive with it."