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Extra practice pays off for stronger Terrapins

CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 11: Tampa Prep easily defeats short-handed Fort Meade 41-30.

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2003

TAMPA -- For the first time this season, Tampa Prep had four consecutive days of practice in preparation for Friday's game with Fort Meade.

The extra work paid off.

Bolstered by dominating rebounding, the Terrapins breezed by Fort Meade 41-30 and will face Berkeley Prep, a 58-35 winner against McKeel Academy, tonight in the district finals.

"Rebounding was something we worked on and emphasized all week," Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said. "If we only allowed them one shot, I didn't feel like they would be able to beat us."

The Terrapins, facing a Fort Meade team missing two starters and dressing only eight players, outrebounded the Miners 30-17.

"I was dealing with only seven of my usual suspects tonight, and that's very difficult when you're playing a team like (Tampa Prep)," Fort Meade coach Brian McCrae said.

David Smith, who was held in check during the Terrapins' loss to the Miners earlier in the season, had a game-high 15 points and 14 rebounds.

"Smith is a warrior," Fenlon said. "When he plays like he did tonight, we win. Obviously, he is the train we have to ride."

Tampa Prep continually worked the ball inside to Smith and Josh Bercu (nine points), and the shorthanded Miners found themselves in foul trouble. The Terrapins were 11-of-15 from the free-throw line, while the Miners were 1-of-2.

"We had three players that didn't come off the court tonight, and that's tough when you're dealing with Smith," McCrae said.

Despite scoring six points in the first and third quarters, the Terrapins were never threatened after a 12-4 run to close out the first half.

Spiros Ferderigos' 17 points paced Berkeley Prep as the Buccaneers defeated McKeel in the first game of the semifinals. Tampa Prep, making its 11th consecutive appearance in the district finals, lost both regular-season games against Berkeley Prep.

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