Clearwater Central Catholic discovered Saturday what three other local schools learned this week.
This team from New Jersey is good.
Jersey City St. Peter's captured the inaugural Blue Jacket Holiday Classic with a 73-59 win over CCC. The defeat was the first of the season for the Marauders (13-1), who were the last unbeaten team in Pinellas County.
St. Peter's specialized in fast starts throughout the tournament, outscoring its first three foes by an average of 20-8 in the opening quarter.
It wasn't until the second quarter Saturday that St. Peter's broke clear of CCC.
A 12-2 run to open the second and a 9-0 run to close it gave St. Peter's (6-0), which reached the state championship game last season, a 41-22 cushion at intermission. Stout defense, superb shooting, an effective fast break and 6-foot-8 center Brian Robinson (team-high 18 points) contributed to the St. Peter's surge.
CCC, playing without starting forward John Templeton, who received two technical fouls in the Marauders' second-round win over Ocala Shores Christian, rallied late in the third quarter.
A 10-0 run, capped by a post-up basket from Jon Simmons, cut the deficit to 51-40.
However, St. Peter's scored nine of the next 11 points, and CCC got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
The Marauders were led by forward Dominick Jarmula and point guard Chris Zumwalt, who scored 20 and 19 points, respectively.
"We ran into a very good team," CCC coach Bart Citro said. "We have a few guys sick, but we fought hard. Playing a team like this helps you get better."
St. Peter's had four players in double figures, including tournament MVP Jarrett Love (16 points).
Host Admiral Farragut beat Seminole 51-42 for third place.