TAMPA - Tampa Bay Tech coach Adrian Johnson gave the Titans simple instructions at halftime: Only one more basket, and the Titans would be playing a whole different game with Blake in the Class 4A, District 11 championship.
The Titans (18-7) struggled early, played catchup with the Yellow Jackets and ended the half only a point behind. came out aggressive after halftime, setting the tone with a Dauda Fayedi dunk, and led the rest of the way to win 86-78.
"We just wanted to spread it out and keep playing strong because it wasn't over," said Fayedi, who scored 15. "Coach told us (at halftime) to play the fundamentals and have fun."
Blake (15-10) was hurt by the loss of center Jeremy Black, who appeared to sprain his left ankle after landing on it oddly during a layup early in the game. The 6-foot-7 senior has averaged 15 rebounds and 15 points a game this season. He scored four Saturday.
"That hurt us a lot," Blake coach Winston Davis said. "We tried to fulfill that loss, and they played really well, but that's a lot of rebounds."
It was the fourth meeting between the Titans and the Yellow Jackets, two of the most closely-matched teams in the county. Blake beat Tampa Bay Tech once during the season, and two of the games between the rivals were settled on last-second shots.
"The kids were a little nervous, and Blake came out intense," Johnson said. "Their intensity didn't let up either."
Demitrius Edwards led the Titans with 27 points, and Yurel Scaggs had one of his best performances of the season with 25.
Blake was led by guard Gilet Chevalier, who had 24 points, and Marcus Gunn scored 19 points. Charles Trigg added 16.
- EMILY NIPPS
3A-9: Knights fall short against No. 6 Barons
ST. PETERSBURG - St. Petersburg Catholic won its third straight district championship with a 68-65 overtime victory against Robinson. The Barons, ranked No.6 in 3A, finished 12-0 in district play.
With 4.2 seconds left in overtime, the Knights' Antwon Royal hit a 3-pointer to put them within one. SPC's Aaron Holmes was fouled on the inbound. He hit both free throws to seal it. Larry Christian scored eight for the Barons (24-2) in overtime, including 6-for-8 from the line.
Robinson (11-16) increased its lead in the second quarter, leading by as much as 11 in the first half and 32-25 at halftime.
Holmes scored seven in the third, helping the Barons outscore the Knights 18-8 in the third quarter.
SPC led Robinson by six halfway though the fourth. Robinson fought back, using an 8-1 run in the final three minutes, including Arnaldo Abreu's basket with 34 seconds left, to send it to to overtime.
Royal's and Abreu's efforts came up short, but each scored 23 for the Knights. Royal had five 3-pointers.
- CHARLES CARDWELL
A-7: Cambridge a winner
TAMPA - Justin Salemy and Trey Crandell each scored 14 as second-seeded Cambridge upset top-seeded Bayshore Christian 46-43 in overtime Saturday night for the A-7 title at Tampa Baptist.
The Faith Warriors (23-4) missed two shots in the final seconds of regulation. Seventh-grader Toarlyn Fitzpatrick's 3-pointer, the Lancers' only field-goal try in overtime, gave Cambridge (15-9) the lead for good at 42-41. Its final four points came at the free-throw line.
"We executed when we had to and that was the difference," Cambridge coach Baker Mabry said.
Wayne Seward scored 17 and Philip Brooks added 13 for the Faith Warriors. Seward's two free throws with 1:12 left tied it at 39.
Brooks made two free throws to begin overtime, but Fitzpatrick followed with his 3-pointer.