Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon had to feel confident heading into halftime of the Terrapins' game with Berkeley Prep on Friday.
After all, Tampa Prep only trailed by three and had held one of the area's top scorers, Spiros Ferderigos, in check.
Then came the second half.
Stifling defense and a flurry of Tampa Prep turnovers during a torrid third-quarter stretch allowed the Buccaneers to pull away for a 65-40 win against the visiting Terrapins.
"I thought that we came out and were flat on both ends (in the first half)," Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart said. "Sometimes the best offense can be a good defense."
And good defense turned a close game into a rout. The Buccaneers (14-2) stepped up their full-court pressure in the second half and forced 10 of Tampa Pre's 28 total turnovers in the third quarter.
"We kept turning the ball over and (Berkeley Prep) was just feeding off that," Fenlon said. "The margin for error against a team like they have is so small."
The Buccaneers came out of the intermission firing, ripping off a 17-0 run Tampa Prep (11-6) did not recover from. And after a quiet seven-point first half, Ferderigos was the catalyst.
The senior guard scored 13 of the Buccaneers' 17 points during that stretch as Berkeley Prep held the Terrapins scoreless until Alex Schulte's short jumper with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Ferderigos led all scorers with 36 points and had eight rebounds, six steals and four blocks. Schulte led Tampa Prep with 15 points and Walter Perkins added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"Being a senior, I told the other guys at halftime that we owed it to ourselves to come out in the second half and play like we are capable," Ferderigos said. "Our defense forced turnovers in the second half and we're a much better team in transition."