Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

Seffner Christian loses at buzzer in boys basketball season opener

The defending state finalist Crusaders rally from a 20-point deficit only to watch host Lakewood Ranch sink a free throw as time expires.
Seffner Christian doesn't shy away from tough competition, taking on a team that reached state last season in its season opener. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
Seffner Christian doesn't shy away from tough competition, taking on a team that reached state last season in its season opener. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Dec. 4, 2019

BRADENTON — Practice officially began for boys basketball on Nov. 4. Seffner Christian had to wait much longer than that to start its quest on getting back to the state finals.

All but two players on the roster were members of the football team, which advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals for the first time. That meant the Crusaders had to anxiously stand by until their two-sport athletes returned.

Last week, Seffner Christian’s storybook football season ended with a loss to Hialeah Champagnat Catholic. Once the players returned to school Monday, they headed to the court for their first basketball practice together.

“We really only had one day with everyone,” coach Sam Moorer said.

That was not exactly the way the Crusaders wanted to enter the season. After all, they opened up on the road against another defending state finalist, Lakewood Ranch.

RELATED: High school boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

Despite having little time to prepare, Seffner Christian nearly pulled off the win, falling 73-72 on a free throw the Mustangs hit as time expired.

“Given where we’e at right now, this bodes well for us,” Moorer said.

The Crusaders spent most of the first half still trying to find some cohesiveness. Early in the third quarter, Seffner Christian trailed by 20 points.

After that, things started to click. Michael Trigg and Willie Jones started to find their shooting touch as the two helped the Crusaders make a furious rally.

Twice, Seffner Christian took the lead in the final two minutes, the last on a dunk by Jones with 33 seconds left.

The host Mustangs tied it, forced a turnover in the final five seconds. As time expired, the Crusaders were called for a foul. Lakewood Ranch’s Luke Lecroy hit one of his two free throws to win the game.

Trigg led all scorers with 32, followed by Jones with 18.

“It’s a tough way to lose, but to battle back the way we did and have a chance to win against a team like this is something," Moorer said. “We’re going to be just fine.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Saturday's Seminole Shootout was full of closely contested basketball action. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Berkeley Prep and Clearwater also pull out tight thrillers Saturday.
  2. You'll find Chimera Iloanya and Seffner Christian at the Lakewood MLK Holiday Classic this weekend. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Looking for some stellar hoops matchups this holiday weekend? Hosts Lakewood and Chamberlain have you covered.
  3. Hillsborough senior forward Cantia Rahming, right, is among the nation's leaders in rebounds per game. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The senior has been a menace on the boards after missing out on significant playing time in last year’s run to the state final four.
  4. In his one season at Middleton, Mike Williams led the grieving Tigers to a 5-5 record. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The former Plant High player takes over for David Mitchell, who steps down to deal with health issues in his family.
  5. Florida receiver Josh Hammond (18) on the field during practice for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Plus Plant High product Jake Fruhmorgen’s journey from Clemson to UF to Baylor to the East-West Shrine Game.
  6. Justin Lucena has been with Sunlake since he was a freshman, enduring losing seasons before the recent turnaround. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Seahawks endured years of losses but confidence is high in this group that a playoff run, and possibly a district title, are in reach.
  7. Teammates watch as Lakewood's Elijah Jackson leaps from near the free-throw line as he goes up for a slam dunk during practice. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    No matter how tight a game, the green light is always on for the Spartans boys basketball team, a state title contender again, to rattle the rim.
  8. University of Florida commit Alexa Goldberg is a veteran presence for a St. Petesrburg team that hopes to return to the state final four. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The Green Devils’ roster may not be the same, but there is still that mix of youth and experience that served them well a year ago.
  9. Marcellus Crutchfield was just one Tampa Catholic player whose family recently hosted Australian players from a prominent Catholic school in Melbourne. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    The Crusaders are the perfect hosts for a Catholic school team from Australia that is enamored of the American game.
  10. Dionte Blanch, right, and East Lake remain on top of our rankings after running their unbeaten mark to 15-0. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    East Lake, the last remaining unbeaten team in the area, remains in the top spot for the second straight week.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement