TAMPA — The feeling was familiar: Bayshore Christian holding a double-digit lead over rival Cambridge Christian at the half.
Bayshore Christian coach Broderick Day reminded his Faith Warriors at halftime of Tuesday night’s Class 2A region semifinal that they held a similar lead over the Lancers in the previous matchup this season, only to survive a furious Lancer comeback before winning by two points at the buzzer.
“I told my team we have to continue to play tough defense, box out and execute our fundamentals,” Day said. “I told them (Cambridge) isn’t going to let up."
The Lancers (16-8) didn’t, but neither did Bayshore Christian (18-8) in a hard-fought 68-58 victory. The Faith Warriors’ lead was cut to five points early, but the was as close as the Lancers got.
With some key shots — several by Bayshore guard Deon Brown, who led all scorers with 24 points — the Faith Warriors quickly pushed their lead back up to double digits, a margin they never relinquished the rest of the way.
“When (Cambridge) cut the lead to five points I still felt we were going to win,” Day said. “I had confidence in our team.”
So did the players.
“We were feeling it tonight,” Brown said. “We don’t always shoot that well (Bayshore sank 12 3-pointers on Tuesday), but we really shot well tonight. We do believe we can do it.”
Behind Brown, senior forward David Fitzgerald followed with 19 points while C.J. Crews added 14. Junior Gavin Martinez led the Lancers with 23 points.
Boys basketball region finals
Games at 7 p.m. Friday.
6A: No. 3 Fort Myers at No. 1 East Lake
6A: No. 3 Hillsborough at No. 1 Bartow
5A: No. 3 Naples at No. 1 Clearwater
4A: No. 6 Titusville Astronaut at No. 1 Tampa Catholic
3A: No. 7 Seffner Christian at No. 1 Community School of Naples
2A: No. 2 Bayshore Christian at No. 1 First Baptist