RIVERVIEW — Tampa Bay Tech dug out of two substantial deficits Tuesday to rally for a 63-52 win over host Riverview and take a step closer to the Sharks in the Class 7A, District 8 race.
In earning a regular-season split with the Sharks for a third straight season, the Titans improved to 11-8, 6-2. Riverview, which opened the season with 11 consecutive wins, dropped to 13-5, 7-1.
“There’s something about the rivalry between Tampa Bay Tech and Riverview,” Titans coach Reggie Lawrence said.
Riverview took a 9-0 lead before Tampa Bay Tech roared back for a 28-26 halftime lead. The Sharks nearly repeated that early effort by scoring the first seven points of the third quarter for a 33-28 lead.
“We came out kind of flat in the first quarter and the third,” Lawrence said.
Each time, however, the Titans surged ahead. Kirtisha Nelson drained a 3-pointer for a tie at 43 and followed that up with a steal and layup, but she wasn’t finished. Nelson added two assists on Erica Young baskets, the latter shot turning into a three-point play and Tampa Bay Tech was ahead for good at 50-45.
“She stepped up,” Lawrence said of Nelson, a sophomore guard. “She’s very comfortable out there.”
Nelson and Young led a balanced attack that included four players in double figures. They had 16 and 15 points, respectively, with Shakela Smith adding 13 and Chyna Lindsay 10.
Despite being one of three Riverview players to foul out, Asia Royster scored a game-high 18. Shatisha Dukes added 15 and Selina Guerad scored 10.
The Sharks also came up short at the free-throw line with Tampa Bay Tech converting 18 of 39 while the hosts made just 8 of 28.