TAMPA — The first 10 minutes were a Bayshore Christian treat. The next 10 minutes were trouble for the Faith Warriors, who fell one victory short of their first state tournament appearance since 2001.
A 24-0 run by Jacksonville North Florida Educational Institute — mostly with Bayshore Christian standout Christian Anderson on the bench with foul issues — took the steam out of the Faith Warriors early in a 57-36 loss Tuesday in the Class 2A region final.
Bayshore Christian's final score was 18 points fewer than its previous low total for the year: a 58-54 loss to Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian on Dec. 16.
"It was a good season. … We just had our worst game of the year," Bayshore Christian coach Broderick Day said. "We didn't shoot the ball very well, we didn't handle the ball very well. It was just one of those days that nothing went right for us."
Bayshore Christian (20-4) committed a season-high 29 turnovers — 23 in the middle quarters — and shot only 34 percent. North Florida (21-9) was almost as charitable with 27 turnovers, but the Eagles shot a blistering 57 percent with 17 of their 23 field goals coming on layups.
"(North Florida) had just as many turnovers as us, we just couldn't capitalize on them," Day said. "They are a very good defensive team, but we didn't attack the basket very well."
An early 7-0 run got Bayshore Christian going and it led 14-11 on a Jeremiah Wicks layup early in the second quarter. But with six minutes left before intermission, Anderson, who led the Faith Warriors with 12 points, sat out the rest of the half with two fouls. Bayshore Christian failed to score the rest of the period, and North Florida rattled off 15 unanswered points. The Eagles scored the first nine points of the third quarter, and the Faith Warriors never got closer than 18 after that.
"Christian Anderson is the heart of our team," Day said. "He's our senior that handles everything for us. He's our defensive stopper, and he's a regulator on the offensive end as well. So when I take a person that contributes that much to the team out of the game, things are going to change. I just needed some other guys to step up, and that didn't happen."
During a 12-minute span, Bayshore Christian did not score a field goal, and it made only 3-of-12 foul shots.
Tajon Davis (16 points) and Damion Walker (15) led North Florida's attack.