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Terps' speedy start can't be matched as they take City of Tampa Championship

TAMPA — When Tampa Prep senior Jamal Cherry sank a 3-pointer on his first shot of the night to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career Wednesday, play wasn't halted to observe the milestone.

Fact is, the Terrapins never slowed down for anything in the City of Tampa Championship final.

What shaped up as a potential revenge game for Hillsborough (9-3) instead evolved into a complete game for the Terps (9-0). Exploiting the Terriers' fullcourt press and dominating the backboard, the hosts raced to a 74-38 rout to win their third consecutive CTC crown.

"No question," Terps coach Joe Fenlon said when asked if this was his club's most complete effort. "It seemed like we never really gave them an opportunity to get on a roll."

A year after topping Hillsborough by one point in the CTC final, Tampa Prep took away all suspense from the start, jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Cherry, whose milestone was recognized after the game, scored seven during the run.

Breaking the Terriers' press at will, the Terps were able to create easy interior baskets for Cherry (17 points), 6-foot-3 sophomore Devontae Morgan (18) and 6-5 senior Jay Bowie (25), who was named tournament MVP for the second consecutive season.

"During practice, all we do is press," said Bowie, who totaled 45 points in the Terps' final two tournament contests. "We knew what was coming so we knew how to attack it."

They attacked the backboard with equal fervor, outrebounding Hillsborough 38-14. Offensively, Tampa Prep went 30-for-49 from the floor, hitting 6-of-10 3-pointers. Two of those treys, by Morgan and David Fletcher, keyed a 10-0 third-period run that increased the Terps' lead to 52-23.

"We finished plays," Fenlon said. "And when you finish plays and don't let people get in to their offensive sets and don't give them multiple opportunities to score, you can usually have success."

In the third-place game, Blake junior guard Andre Smith scored 24 to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 51-40 triumph against Plant. Smith made the all-tournament team for the second consecutive year.

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Terps' speedy start can't be matched as they take City of Tampa Championship 12/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:18pm]
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