CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 12: Chad Radosevic and Travis Karto combine for 44 points in the 55-52 win as the Barons defend their title.
By JASON PAFUNDI
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003
CLEARWATER -- St. Petersburg Catholic expected 20 points from Pinellas County's leading scorer, Chad Radosevic, but what it didn't expect was the performance of Travis Karto.
Karto connected on a variety of shots, including a key free throw down the stretch, and scored 21 to help the Barons to a 55-52 victory over Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the district championship game.
Radosevic led St. Petersburg Catholic (19-8) with 24 points, 13 in the first half, but it was Karto who set the pace.
"We average 48 points a game between our three perimeter players (Radosevic, Karto and Aaron Holmes), but the bulk is usually Chad's," Barons coach Mike Moran said. "Tonight, Travis stepped up his game and that is what you need to win a championship."
The Barons led by eight at halftime and 13 with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter. But a couple of 3-pointers by the Cougars cut the lead to four before the buzzer sounded.
"Our 13-point lead evaporated in about 50 seconds before the end of the third," Moran said. "Give them credit, they made big shots. We were very fortunate tonight."
Steve Young led Cardinal Mooney with 18 points, but the Cougars didn't have an answer for Radosevic and Karto.
Last season's district title was the first in 27 years for St. Petersburg Catholic and Moran said he told his team that there is a difference between being winners and champions.
"Everybody at this stage has a winning record, so we told them to be focused tonight, and for the most part we were."
St. Petersburg Catholic will host Tampa Prep in the region quarterfinals Thursday after the Terrapins lost 64-43 to Berkeley Prep. Cardinal Mooney will travel to Berkeley Prep.