TAMPA — Textbook basketball vs. pure athleticism.
Jesuit's crisp passing, sharp shooting and sound defense might have made for a good instructional DVD. On Wednesday, it helped the Tigers avenge an early-season loss to rival Hillsborough for a critical 66-55 win in Class 5A, District 10.
The setback wasn't lost on Terriers coach Andre Lewis, who kept talking about a lost opportunity and the slip in district standings. Ultimately, the defeat could cost Hillsborough a top seed at district tournament time. Now the Tigers control their fate facing another huge battle Friday at Blake, which could ultimately decide the top seed. There were still a few hours to enjoy Wednesday's win before getting back to work.
"We lost to them (the Terriers) by 15 points earlier in the season," Tigers coach Neal Goldman said. "We handled the pressure a lot better and we just challenged our boys to have great poise and toughness. I thought they did."
Jesuit (13-3, 8-2) grabbed the lead for good in the first quarter on field goal by Erick McGriff, who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and tape around his right elbow after a minor cut. The Tigers pushed the lead to 16 on a layup by guard Mike Matesich with 2 minutes, 40 seconds in the first half, outscoring the Terriers 16-5 in the second quarter.
Hillsborough (10-7, 7-3) scrapped back with high-pressure, trapping defense and managed to climb to within eight on a basket by junior Ravon Bullard (nine points). Jesuit pushed its lead back to double digits and held it through most of the second half.
The Tigers were led by junior Austin Schonbrun with a game-high 19 points. The Terriers' Juan Washington had a team-high 11.
"I knew they would try to make a run," Goldman said. "I didn't want them to drop off their intensity. It got close a little bit, but our poise really shined through tonight."