ST. PETERSBURG — Plenty of Pinellas boys basketball teams that have gone through remarkable transformations this season.
Gibbs is in the playoffs for just the fifth time in the past 20 seasons and won its first district title since 1994. East Lake, which graduated the majority of its starters, is in the playoffs for the third time in school history and the first since 2000.
But no county team's turnaround has been as swift — and surprising — as Shorecrest's.
The Chargers were 3-7 in December when coach Brian Marchetti stepped down. Darryl Blume, the junior varsity coach, took his place. He decided to scrap the methodical halfcourt game in favor of a running style.
The result: The Chargers have won 11 of their past 12, including a come-from-behind, overtime victory over nemesis Admiral Farragut that secured their first district title since 1994.
"We really got the kids to adjust to new roles in what we're trying to do," Blume said. "The transition has gone well and they are now buying into the team concept."
Before, the Chargers tried to slow things down to keep the score close at the end of games. Now, they are speeding things up and averaging 20 more points per game.
Mike Milov, the point guard, has directed the offense with aplomb. His ability to get the ball to outside scoring threats Ricky Quiroz and Luke Blume has been key.
In the district final, Blume and Quiroz combined for 13 3-pointers to help Shorecrest rally and send the game into overtime.
"We've had some really bad losses to Farragut in the past," Blume said. "We played them close in the regular season and that has everyone believing."