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Long-range touch propels Jesuit into region semifinals

The Tigers make 16 3-pointers in topping Boca Ciega 84-46.
Ryan Weir, seen here in a game earlier this season, ties his career high with a 25 points Thursday night against Boca Ciega. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

TAMPA — Same basketball programs. Same coaches. Same site.

Thursday night’s setting was similar to 2013, when Jesuit and Boca Ciega last met in the postseason. Seven years later, the outcome remained the same.

Jesuit, the No. 2 seed, scored another first-round win with an 84-46 victory against No. 7 Boca Ciega in Class 5A region quarterfinal play. The Tigers (23-6), who won for the 13th time in their past 14 games, move on to host No. 3 Naples on Tuesday. The Pirates close at 13-9.

The teams’ previous postseason meeting, a Jesuit 63-50 victory in 2013, fueled one of the Tigers’ most historical seasons. Jesuit proceeded to win its third overall state championship, capping a 31-1 campaign. (The Tigers also won crowns in 1950 and 1984).

Jesuit junior point guard Ryan Weir, who led a 3-point shooting barrage against Boca Ciega, can’t forget the Tigers’ most recent title. He was 10 years old, when his brother, JJ Weir, also was the point guard on the 2013 squad.

“I remember that day vividly," said Ryan Weir, who saw Jesuit defeat Plantation American Heritage 79-58 for the 2013 crown. “I said (then) I wanted to be there one day."

Weir missed his first shot of the contest, but did little wrong after that as Jesuit led from start to finish. He tied his career high with a game-high 25 points, 20 in the first half as the Tigers parlayed a 31-point second quarter into a 44-21 cushion at intermission.

Seven of Weir’s eight field goals in the game were treys, setting the tone for the Tigers. Of Jesuit’s 28 field goals, 16 came from beyond the arc.

“Just one of those nights,” Weir said. “I didn’t want to see the seniors go home early. They’ve been with me since my freshman year, so I feel like I’ve got to do it for them. I want to win for them, and for them to go far."

Boca Ciega trailed only 16-14 early in the second quarter when Jesuit’s outside shooting clicked. After taking their first double-digit lead at 28-18 with 4:14 to go before halftime, the Tigers gained separation with an 11-0 run to end the quarter. Ten of Jesuit’s 12 first-half buckets were treys.

The Pirates had no chance as Jesuit made 11 consecutive shots from the field during a stretch in the second and third quarters, including its final eight to end the first half. The Tigers continued to score at will with a 27-point third quarter, and a Kai Ravenna layup with 10 seconds left gave Jesuit a 71-36 lead and forced a running clock in the final period.

“We liked our performance by our guys,” Jesuit coach Neal Goldman said. “They’re really playing with a lot of confidence right now. We were in a tough district tournament and we had two great come-from-behind wins. I think that took the pressure off of us, and we were able to really be free and play. It was a great team effort."

Jasiah Taylor added 19 points and Bennett Andersen 12 for Jesuit, who had six players hit 3-pointers. It was the third consecutive region quarterfinal win and fifth in the past six years for the Tigers.

Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman, whose team suffered its worst defeat of the season, has now lost opening-round playoff games six consecutive times since 2012 — three vs. Jesuit. The Pirates’ last regional quarterfinal win came in 2009, a 65-64 victory against North Port.

Shuman declined to comment after the game. Jakare Carroll-Newton had 18 points and Dayn Radosevich 12 for Boca Ciega.

“This is a totally different team (from 2013)," Goldman said. “We’re going to have to do it with great shooting, great teamwork. We have to do a great job collectively of rebounding, and (Thursday), I thought we really battled despite the size differential."

Jesuit moved within four wins of a potential state title. “I think we can do it," Weir said.

Region semifinals

Games 7 p.m. Tuesday.

7A: No. 3 Wharton at No. 2 Windermere

6A: No. 5 Charlotte at No. 1 East Lake

6A: No. 7 St. Petersburg at No. 3 Fort Myers

6A: No. 7 Lakeland at No. 3 Hillsborough

5A: No. 4 Port Charlotte at No. 1 Clearwater

5A: No. 3 Naples at No. 2 Jesuit

5A: No. 3 Land O’ Lakes at No. 2 Orlando Jones

4A: No. 5 Lakewood at No. 1 Tampa Catholic

4A: No. 4 Anclote at No. 1 Lake Highland Prep

3A: No. 4 Calvary Christian at No. 1 Community School of Naples

3A: No. 7 Seffner Christian at No. 6 Fort Myers Canterbury

2A: No. 3 Cambridge Christian at No. 2 Bayshore Christian

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