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.
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.