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Tampa Bay Tech girls smother Armwood’s attack

Defense is key as the defending state champ easily rolls into the Class 6A region semifinals.
Tampa Bay Tech's Jasmine Peaks, seen here in a file photo, scored a team-high 24 points in Thursday's region quarterfinal. [Times]
Tampa Bay Tech's Jasmine Peaks, seen here in a file photo, scored a team-high 24 points in Thursday's region quarterfinal. [Times]
Published Feb. 14

TAMPA — Eleven years . . . and counting.

The Tampa Bay Tech domination over Armwood continued Thursday. Junior Jasmine Peaks scored 24 points and the Titans, playing without standout Janiah Barker, rolled to a 70-32 victory in a Class 6A region quarterfinal.

The second-seeded Titans (22-6) advance to play Tuesday against either No. 3 St. Cloud. Armwood, seeded seventh, finishes at 15-12.

Tampa Bay Tech used three spurts in the first half to put the game away early. After Armwood went up 5-4, the Titans took the lead for good with a 13-0 run. Later in the first period, Tampa Bay Tech began a string of 16 unanswered points to raise its advantage to 33-9 in the second quarter. The Titans ended the period on an 8-0 spurt for a 44-17 lead at the intermission.

Peaks had 15 points in the first half, and Amiya Evans scored all 12 of her points during the first 16 minutes as the Tampa Bay Tech defense suffocated Armwood. The Hawks shot only 23 percent and committed 18 turnovers in the opening half. For the game, Armwood was held to 22 percent shooting and had 27 turnovers.

“We try to get easy baskets through our defense," Tampa Bay Tech coach Reggie Lawrence said. “We try to let our offense generate through our defense. That’s just something that we work on. They take pride in it, and they know how important defense is. That’s just what we do."

Barker wasn’t needed. She sprained an ankle in the Plant game, and Lawrence said her future playing status is uncertain.

Armwood’s Madisen Sylvester (10 points) and Keyara Bromley (nine) were the only Hawks to score in the first half. K’Nisha Godrey added 12 points for Tampa Bay Tech. A Kieran Allen layup with 7:25 remaining gave Tampa Bay Tech a 65-28 lead to start a running clock.

Tampa Bay Tech, which won the Class 8A state title last year — the first championship in school history — recorded its eighth consecutive victory against Armwood since 2009. The Hawks’ last win over the Titans, a 58-40 decision, came on Jan. 12, 2009. Thursday’s victory also was Tampa Bay Tech’s second win against Armwood in the past 38 days. The Titans prevailed 69-38 on Jan. 7 in the schools’ first meeting since January 2012.

In the second half, Peaks often dished the ball to open teammates, with seven Titans scoring.

“She’s our court general,” Lawrence said. “Sometimes, she comes in and she doesn’t have to score. She gets everyone involved. It depends on how the game is going.

“Sometimes, we need her scoring. She’s an excellent shooter. She has a basketball IQ that’s out of this world. . . . She’s somebody to really be proud of."

Region semifinals

Games at 7 p.m. Tuesday

7A: No. 4 North Port at No. 1 Plant

6A: No. 4 Strawberry Crest at No. 1 Winter Haven

6A: No. 3 St. Cloud at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech

5A: No. 4 Cape Coral at No. 1 Jefferson

4A: No. 4 Lakewood at No. 1 Cocoa

4A: No. 6 Eustis at No. 2 Wesley Chapel

3A: No. 5 Brooks DeBartolo at No. 1 Carrollwood Day

3A: No. 3 Benjamin at No. 2 Seffner Christian

2A: No. 5 Donahue Catholic at No. 1 Keswick Christian

2A: No. 3 First Baptist at No. 2 Hernando Christian

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  11. Sydney Jackwin, seen here in a game earlier this season, was a force for Keswick Christian in Tuesday's region semifinals.
  12. CC Mays led Seffner Christian with 25 points and will face her former team, Carrollwood Day, on Friday night.
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