Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Hometeam

State basketball: Tampa Catholic falls to nationally ranked University

LAKELAND — For a brief moment, Tampa Catholic had a glimmer of hope.

The Crusaders went on an 8-1 run midway through the first quarter of Wednesday's Class 5A state semifinal, cutting the deficit against Fort Lauderdale University to three points.

That is as close as Tampa Catholic would get.

The Sharks turned it on after that, cruising to an 83-48 win that was all but over by halftime.

"They're really good," Crusaders coach Don Dziagwa said of University. "We knew they were, but maybe we were a little surprised at just how good they were."

The Sharks (32-1), which won the prestigious City of Palms tournament, are ranked third nationally in MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 writer's poll. University's lone loss was to powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) Academy in an ESPNU game in January.

Vernon Carey Jr., a 6-foot-10 center who is ranked as the nation's second-best player in the class of 2019 by ESPN, is the Sharks' top player. The talent doesn't end there. University also has Scottie Barnes, a 6-6 forward who is ranked as the nation's fifth-best player in the class of 2020 by ESPN.

So it was not that the Crusaders (26-6) were bad. It was just that the Sharks were so good.

University had more size, more speed and more of most other good things.

Tampa Catholic was willing to mix it up. The Crusaders never quit, despite the lopsided score. But they missed some shots and simply wore down.

With all those pluses on one side and minuses on the other, the game quickly turned in the Sharks' favor.

By halftime, University had a 57-27 lead.

"They run and run and run with a great fastbreak and get a lot of easy baskets," Dziagwa said. "They didn't allow us to really get into what we wanted to do. I hate to say it, for all intents and purposes it was over at the half."

Part of the problem was Tampa Catholic's inability to hit from long range. In last week's region final win over Oxbridge Academy, the Crusaders made 14 3-pointers.

In the first half of Wednesday's state semifinal, they were 0-for-9 and finished with just four 3-pointers. Those errant shots often turned into layups on the other end.

The Sharks shot 75 percent in the first half, most coming on layups and dunks.

"University ran the floor really well," said Tampa Catholic senior guard Tim Carter, who finished with a team-high 12 points. "We felt like we do, too. They were just better."

Early in the third quarter, University was ahead by 35, triggering a running clock. The Sharks emptied the bench midway through the quarter.

Carey led all scorers with 21 points and had 12 rebounds. The Crusaders had two other players who reached double figures in scoring — Alijah Harrison (11 points) and Kobe Knox (10 points).

Tampa Catholic was playing in its third straight state semifinal, something only six other bay area programs have accomplished.

The Crusaders now will have to take solace in knowing they have a future together, thanks to a roster that included six sophomores, three of whom start.

"The team this year was so great," Dziagwa said. "It didn't end well. We're disappointed. But lo and behold we were in the state semifinals and nobody would have thought that at the beginning of the season.

"We have a great group coming back and they're keeping me young. Today, I aged a little. I just didn't know what to do to help them on the court to make it closer than what it was."

Tampa Catholic guard Marcellus Crutchfield (21) drives to the basket against University’s Logan Alters. (GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times)
Comments
District swimming notebook: Lofty expectations for a stacked Plant girls team

District swimming notebook: Lofty expectations for a stacked Plant girls team

TAMPA — Plant is back in the pool and looking as strong as ever.Maybe stronger than ever.Which is saying a lot considering the Panther girls finished as state runners-up the past two years, losing to only to one of the best teams in the country...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region volleyball: Bishop McLaughlin handles its business

SPRING HILL — Not too many playoff volleyball matches clock in at under an hour, but Bishop McLaughlin is not like too many volleyball teams.The Hurricanes' perfect record was not in the slightest jeopardy Tuesday night as they rolled past visi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region volleyball: Calvary Christian cruises into region final

CLEARWATER — Calvary Christian made short of work of Maitland Orangewood Christian in Tuesday night's Class 4A region semifinal in a 25-12, 25-20, 25-9 win. The Warriors (19-7) will host Shorecrest next Tuesday. They defeated the Char...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sunlakeís Jordan Sarhaddi isnít just puttering around on the greens; heís winning

Sunlakeís Jordan Sarhaddi isnít just puttering around on the greens; heís winning

ZEPHYRHILLS — Jordan Sarhaddi is Mr. Gadget on the practice green.What is that stuff?All those plastic, metal, shiny objects: Putting mirror, putting arc, 4-foot putting ruler, putting alignment string, and some putting thing with marbles rolli...
Published: 10/23/18
East Lake, Steinbrenner girls move on to state golf tourney

East Lake, Steinbrenner girls move on to state golf tourney

VALRICO — East Lake and Steinbrenner advanced to the girls Class 3A state tournament on Nov. 6-7 at the Mission Inn and Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills.The Eagles shot a team total 340 on Monday afternoon at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club....
Published: 10/22/18
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: James Gordon and Taylor Stone

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: James Gordon and Taylor Stone

James Gordon, Plant CityThe Raiders coaching staff spent last week concocting a plan that would take advantage of Gordon's playmaking ability.The scheme was designed to have everything Bloomingdale ran funnel to their top players, creating a lot of o...
Published: 10/22/18
East Lake boys get back to state golf as a team

East Lake boys get back to state golf as a team

VALRICO — Coming off a district tournament in which it shot 299 at the Vinoy Golf Club, the East Lake High boys team was certainly confident playing in Monday's Class 3A region tournament at Buckhorn Springs Golf Club. Plant was clearly the tea...
Published: 10/22/18
Plant boys again a state golf contender

Plant boys again a state golf contender

VALRICO — Plant High School golf coach Tom Feeney took a not-so-risky chance last week when he reserved rooms at the Mission Inn and Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills for the Class 3A boys state championship tournament. Never mind that Plant still h...
Published: 10/22/18
HomeTeam 15: Football rankings, Week 10

HomeTeam 15: Football rankings, Week 10

For teams at the top, it is a year of living dangerously. After vaulting to No. 1 last week, Bloomingdale's stay was short-lived after a loss to Plant City. It was the third time a team that occupied the top spot in the HomeTeam 15 (Plant, Tampa Bay ...
Published: 10/22/18
Former Gulf star Alton Voss bringing cautionary tale back home

Former Gulf star Alton Voss bringing cautionary tale back home

Contrary to conventional logic, former Gulf High three-way star Alton Voss lived to tell about his downward spiral into drug addiction.This week, he'll tell it to Pasco County students.Voss, a onetime USF signee who resurrected his career (and earned...
Published: 10/21/18