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Tampa Bay Tech girls get back on track after holiday slump

The Titans snap a two-game losing streak with a decisive win over Armwood.
Tampa Bay Tech's Janiah Barker, seen here at an earlier game, scores 18 points vs. Armwood as the Titans return to their winning ways. [SCOTT PURKS]
Tampa Bay Tech's Janiah Barker, seen here at an earlier game, scores 18 points vs. Armwood as the Titans return to their winning ways. [SCOTT PURKS]
Published Jan. 8

TAMPA ― It’s been a week since Tampa Bay Tech last played a game. Perhaps no girls basketball team wanted to get back onto the court more than the Titans.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, Tampa Bay Tech played in the prestigious Naples Shootout. After winning their first game, the Titans lost the last two and had to wait until school started back up to play again. They took out their frustrations on Armwood on Tuesday night in a 69-38 win.

After an inconsistent start, the Titans pulled away in the second half and showed off their depth. Nine players scored at least a basket. Janiah Barker led the team with 18 points. Jasmine Peaks added 15. The Titans improve to 11-3, with all three losses coming against out-of-state teams.

“We are just trying to get back in the groove,” Peaks said. “We’re ready to show people who we really are.”

Armwood (7-5) was not going to make things easy. The Hawks hung around in the first quarter and frustrated scorers like Barker and Amiya Evans. The score was tied 9-9 late in the quarter when Armwood’s Maraya Cheek hit a layup. Even after Barker made a 3-pointer in the final second of the first, the Titans only led 16-10.

Related: High school girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

The lead grew to 12 early in the second when Evans hit a layup K’Nisha Godfrey followed with one of her own. But thanks to the shooting of Taviyanna Habib (13 points) and Keyara Bromley (11 points), the Hawks were able to keep the lead at 10 in the final second. But Barker hit another 3 at the buzzer and the halftime lead was 35-22.

“There were some jitters, but once the jitters were out they started playing well,” Titans coach Reggie Lawrence said.

That showed in the second half. In the first four minutes of the third, Tampa Bay Tech went on a 14-3 run that included three-point plays by Barker and Jayla Murray. Barker also hit a 3-pointer in the stretch. By the end of the third, the score was 58-32 and the result was not in doubt.

TBT outscored Armwood 34-16 in the second half.

“We just stepped on the gas and got going. It’s not just one person,” Peaks said. “From the first person to our bench, we just all trust each other.”

Murray and Evans each scored 10 points to finish in double figures.

“They were just ready to go," Lawrence said of his team. ”Those two losses were sour in their mouth. We had some bumps and bruises in the first half (of the season). In the second half it’s time for us to put things together. Let’s play our style of basketball, run the floor, press, get up and down the court."

The Titans certainly have more tough games remaining. They will play Miami Country Day and Lake Highland Prep in two weeks. St. Francis (Ga.) and Plant are the final two games at the end of January.


  1. Eighth grader Kaja Dionne notches both goals Tuesday night for Shorecrest, which advances to the Class 2A state semifinals.
  2. Plant junior Victoria Cura celebrates after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Newsome in a Class 7A region final Tuesday night.
  3. The Land O' Lakes girls soccer team advances to the Class 5A state semifinals on Tuesday after beating Lakes Wales 7-2. (BOB PUTNAM | TIMES)
  4. Carrollwood Day senior Weeyah McGill, seen here in a game earlier this season, came up with a needed double double (21 points and 12 rebounds) Tuesday night.
  5. With star player Janiah Barker still out of the lineup, Tampa Bay Tech is getting key contributions from multiple players.
  6. Sydney Jackwin, seen here in a game earlier this season, was a force for Keswick Christian in Tuesday's region semifinals.
  7. CC Mays led Seffner Christian with 25 points and will face her former team, Carrollwood Day, on Friday night.
  8. The Jesuit High bench celebrates a home run hit by BJ Graham during a scrimmage against Lake Wales on Feb. 11.
  9. Florida State's Elizabeth Mason (5) is on deck Friday as fans pack the stands and line up along the fence during the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  10. The high school baseball season is in full swing starting with Monday's Steve Georgiadis Memorial Tournament at Seminole High.
  11. Team USA's Bubba Nickles gets a hit against the Liberty University Flames at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational on Wednesday.
  12. Shorecrest's Samuel Idinge poses with a team award. Created by graduated senior Brendan Smith last year "from PVC found in the locker room and a soccer ball," each gold ring indicates a team victory. Saturday's region semifinal win over Indian Rocks Christian will add ring  No. 15.