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Bucs hang on to novel distinction

Tampa Prep had a chance heading into the final event to grab a share of the multi-sport Headmaster's Cup away from Berkeley Prep. The Terrapins' varsity basketball team needed a win and were tied heading into halftime.

But the Buccaneers refused to lose.

Hamilton Hunt scored nine of his game-high 13 points in the second half to lead the Bucs past the Terrapins 51-33, ensuring the Headmaster's Cup, in its second season, would remain in Berkeley Prep's trophy case.

"Once again this was a phenomenal success and the beginning of a great tradition," Berkeley Prep headmaster Joseph A. Merluzzi said. "It was a great day where families could come out and enjoy the festivities and great competition between these two schools."

Merluzzi and Tampa Prep headmaster Gordon MacLeod taught at schools in the Northeast that competed yearly in a similar event.

"It was the hot topic all week at school," Berkeley athletic director and boys basketball coach Bobby Reinhart said. "It was like a homecoming week."

The schools competed in 15 events covering three sports (wrestling, basketball and soccer) from middle school to varsity. Two points were awarded for varsity wins, one for wins on the other levels. Berkeley earned 12{ points to Tampa Prep's 8{.

"With all the brawls in pro basketball and college football going on these days, it is great to get two rivals together that compete hard but do it the right way: with sportsmanship and class," Reinhart said. "There are lessons to be learned from a day like this."

Berkeley Prep hosted a pep rally Friday and spirit signs adorned the walls of the campus. There was a breakfast for faculty and staff from both schools Saturday morning as well as a cookout for both school's players, families and friends throughout the day.

A strong second half propelled the Bucs varsity girls basketball team to 47-35 win and gave them a 9{-8{ lead. In the middle school boys red division, Tampa Prep's Christian Garcia hit a 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime but the Bucs prevailed 46-38, opening a two-point lead and setting up the boys varsity basketball final.