TAMPA — The Berkeley Prep and Tampa Prep boys basketball teams didn't enter their Saturday matchup as top-ranked teams like they did a year ago.
Still, with Tampa Prep sporting an unbeaten record and a No. 2 ranking in Class 2A and the host Buccaneers coming off a solid holiday tournament appearance and boasting a No. 6 ranking in Class 3A, there was plenty of buzz before the contest.
And being the showcase event of the annual Headmaster's Challenge didn't hurt.
Berkeley Prep, overcoming spotty offense early, defeated its crosstown rival 83-69 before a standing-room-only crowd.
The win not only helped Berkeley Prep take the Headmaster's Challenge cup, but it handed the Terrapins (15-1) their first loss of the season. The Buccaneers (11-4) have won three in a row and five of their last six.
"I thought we were out of control early," Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart said. "But we got our poise and finished out the first half. Then we started to attack the basket and that got us kick-started."
That kick-start happened late in the second period, just after Tampa Prep took its first lead of the game.
After Berkeley Prep tied the score at 24 on a Nelson Agholor jumper, the Bucs grabbed a rebound on a Terrapin miss, quickly moved the ball upcourt and finished with a dunk from Austin Suarez. That gave the Bucs the lead back, and they never relinquished it.
Tampa Prep closed to within one point midway through the third period, but Berkeley Prep's Johnathan Gray helped his team pull away. Gray scored 17 of his 23 in the second half as the Bucs extended their lead and went on to the 14-point victory.
Suarez scored 20 and Christian Reintgen added 14 for the Bucs. Tampa Prep was led by Jay Bowie, who scored 22. Jamal Cherry and Jake Haslam added 14 and 12, respectively, for the Terrapins.
In another big Headmaster's Challenge contest, Berkeley Prep got a Taylor Richardson goal in the opening half and another in the second when a Samantha Newhaller shot deflected off a Tampa Prep player to post a 2-1 victory in girls soccer. Paige Goodwin scored midway through the second half for the Terrapins' goal.
Also, Berkeley Prep's girls basketball team used a fourth-quarter surge to slip past Tampa Prep 34-31.