TAMPA - With leading scorer Spiros Ferderigos out with a sprained ankle and starting forward Brandon Suarez benched with a deep thigh bruise, Berkeley Prep is in pretty bad shape.
Try telling that to Mount Dora Bible (19-10), though, after the Buccaneers pounced on the Bulldogs early and beat them 70-51 in Class 2A. Even without two of their leaders, the Bucs (25-3) found a way to remain one of the stronger teams in the state. Guard Derek Hatcher had a standout night with 19 points. It was a season-high performance for the junior, who averages around five points. Senior Mason Conrad led the Bucs with 20 points and Tyler Bannon scored 15.
"These guys knew they needed to play with heart and soul and guts, and they came out here and did it collectively," Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart said. "We knew that one more victory would buy us five more days of time and therapy to get some of our (injured) guys back."
Ferderigos, among the top scorers in the county, is hoping to be back by region final time if the Bucs make it that far.
Berkeley Prep outscored Mount Dora Bible 19-4 in the first quarter and led by 20 at halftime. But the pace of the game changed quickly when the Bulldogs began the second half with a nine-point run and the Bucs struggled to regain control.
"We couldn't get a basket, and I tried to get it to Mason (Conrad)," Hatcher said. "Once we finally got that basket (by Conrad), I thought, "Okay, we can do this.' "
The Bucs host Community School of Naples Tuesday at 7 p.m. Community School defeated Northside Christian, which the Bucs defeated in December.
4A: Titans overmatched by Lake Wales
TAMPA - A crippling first-half run sparked visiting Lake Wales past Tampa Bay Tech 72-44.
The Titans took an 8-0 lead but Lake Wales stormed back to score 27 unanswered. The Titans were held scoreless for 6:42 during that span.
"We came out flat and weren't matching their intensity," Lake Wales coach Jimmie Johnson said. "But after they went on their run, we took a timeout and the team came back ready to play."
A Titans basket ended the drought, but Lake Wales (16-12) extended the run to 36-2 and effectively put the game out of reach.
The undersized Titans (18-8) were no match for the physical frontline of the Highlanders. Lake Wales' frontcourt combined to score 51, led by Marvin Williams' 22. Lake Wales outrebounded Tampa Bay Tech 38-23.
"They just had more athletes than us," coach Adrian Johnson said. "We wanted to force them as far away from the basket as we could, but when their big guys decided to go to the basket, they did."
- BRANDON WRIGHT
4A: Top-ranked Devils overwhelm Blake
WINTER HAVEN - No. 1-ranked Winter Haven, the only unbeaten boys team in the state, shifted gears Thursday night. The Blue Devils employed a withering defense and an offense as effective as any they have played this season for a 78-30 victory over Blake.
"We just couldn't play on that level," Blake coach Winston Davis said.
"We came to play defense," said Winter Haven coach Don Grant, who used 11 players before halftime. "As far as we are concerned this is a new season. Forget about being 25-0 in the regular season. We are 1-0 right now."
The Blue Devils' swarming defense pressed the Yellow Jackets into four turnovers on five-second calls when they couldn't inbound the ball. Winter Haven had 21 steals in the game.
Junior forward A.J. Jones led the Blue Devils with 16 points. Tavarous Stokes added 10.
- THE LEDGER
3A: Robinson easily tops Avon Park
Robinson continued to play well in the season's final stretch, defeating host Avon Park 67-56. Robinson's victory came days after an overtime loss to No. 6-ranked St. Petersburg 68-65 in a district final. Robinson (12-16) plays at West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman on Tuesday.
- TIMES STAFF
A: Panthers come alive in second half
TAMPA - Bradenton Christian outscored Cambridge 22-9 in the third quarter, then went on to win 62-47. The Panthers led by three at the half, but opened the final two quarters with runs of 15-6, and 10-2, respectively.
"I was very pleased with the way we turned up the volume in the second half," Bradenton coach David Magley said. "I told them (at halftime) that we couldn't let Cambridge hang around. I liked how we quickly opened things up with the press."
The Panthers offense was sparked by solid guard play from seniors Sergio Negrin, who finished with 17 points, and Trevor McMillan's 11 points.
"Both of our guards are very fast and athletic," Magley said. "They compete so hard and have been our leaders all year long."
Cambridge (15-9) was led by Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who made four 3-pointers. Cal Webster added 10 for the Lancers.
- DAN GENOVESE
A: Bayshore Christian rolls on
Bayshore Christian bounced back from Saturday's district final upset to defeat host Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy 70-57. Bayshore improved to 25-4 and plays at Winter Haven All Saints Tuesday.