Gibbs held St. Petersburg scoreless the final 2:27 and withstood a late shot attempt by guard Marquis Ford to defeat its Class 5A, District 10 rival 42-38.
Down by two with 5.3 seconds left, the Green Devils (9-4) returned from a timeout and got the ball to Ford, a senior. But his shot from the corner hit the top of the backboard and Gibbs took possession. After a quick foul by the Green Devils, two free throws by junior guard Kevin Williams iced the game.
Gibbs (7-5) held onto its one-point halftime lead despite not getting a basket until guard Naason Borden scored with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Borden, a senior, scored nine in the second half and led all scorers with 16 for the game.
Senior forward Brian Blakely led the Green Devils with 13 points and kept St. Petersburg in the game by hitting 7 of 8 free throws.
During the timeout just before Ford's miss, Gladiators coach Larry Murphy reminded his players how they got the lead. "I just told them we've been stopping them all game," he said. "Just five seconds, give it all you got."
And St. Petersburg coach Chris Blackwell said he left the game in the right player's hands: "We wanted the shot with the ball in Marquis' hands. He was going to take the last shot."