TAMPA — It wasn't a good week for Sickles. It was a pretty great one.
The Gryphons came into the Sun Bash tournament at Carrollwood Day with a 4-4 record and wondering how good they really were.
On Saturday, moments after defeating Santa Fe Catholic 45-41 while holding the title trophy for winning the tournament's "Bash" bracket, the Gryphons felt much, much better — about everything.
"We had a couple of tough losses early in the season but this week we really came together," Sickles freshman Javohn Thomas said. "This makes us feel good before we head into the rest of the season."
Part of the feel-good vibe stems from using a versatile attack to beat three quality teams during the week: Palm Glades (41-39), Hallandale (62-54) and Santa Fe Catholic. The Gryphons also did it without their leading scorer, Jean Rivera, who was away because of a family obligation.
"We grew up a lot this week," Sickles coach Mike Weaving said. "We adjusted when we needed to and tonight against Santa Fe Catholic I would say they did just about everything I asked them to do and they did it all very well."
In the fourth quarter, for instance, Weaving asked his team to slow it down, pass it around, be patient and make Santa Fe's athletic bunch come out to the Gryphons.
"I think Santa Fe's athleticism was getting to us a little bit and we started rushing and going too fast with everything," Weaving said of a moment early in the fourth quarter when Santa Fe cut the gap to 43-37. "We work on slowing it down in practice and I felt it was a good time to use it in the game."
Sickles (7-4) may have only scored four points in the fourth quarter but the Gryphons dominated the time-of-possession battle, holding it about six of the eight final minutes. In the process, Santa Fe only scored seven points, or not nearly enough.
"We didn't mind slowing it down because we knew that's what we needed to do," said senior guard Julian Canuelas, who finished with 11 points, tied for second most with teammate Gary Jones. Thomas led all scorers with 15.