Bucs in control of district

Berkeley Prep romps over TC, turning up the heat in the second half.

Published January 13, 2007

TAMPA - Berkeley Prep took Tampa Catholic out of its long-range offensive game Friday night and took sole possession of first place in its district as a result.

The Buccaneers (11-4, 4-0 Class 3A, District 11), winners of five in a row, out-shot, out-rebounded and outran the Crusaders in a dominant second half en route to a 78-58 road triumph. By night's end, Berkeley had nearly as many double-figure scorers (four) as TC had 3-pointers (five).

"We really have good balance," said Bucs coach Bobby Reinhart, whose team takes a one-game lead on TC (9-5, 3-1) in the district race.

"We have a group of guys who are great teammates to each other; they hang out all day, every day. They don't care who gets the credit."

That balance was evident on both sides of the floor. Switching fluidly on screens and playing tight defense on the perimeter, the Bucs held Tampa Catholic to a 5-for-22 effort from 3-point range and 52 field-goal attempts, well below their average.

Subtract Christian Green's layup at the buzzer, and only two Crusaders, seniors E.J. Ciaccio and Joey Lauteria, scored in the second half. Ciaccio led all players with 22 points. By contrast, Berkeley sophomore Johnathan Gray finished with 19 points, followed by junior Archie Barnes (18), junior Zak Kazanski (15) and sophomore Austin Suarez (10).

"We played no defense at all," said Crusaders coach Don Dziagwa, whose team has dropped two in a row at home to the Buccaneers. "We've told our guys all year long they're not going to win any championships or do anything unless they start playing defense."

Gray scored eight in a row during a 16-5 Berkeley run to open the second half, breaking open a game that featured five lead changes and four Crusaders 3s in the first 16 minutes. Barnes highlighted the spurt with a midcourt steal and ensuing one-handed dunk.

"I was disappointed at halftime," said Reinhart, whose club led 38-35 at the break after trailing by as many as six.

"We just didn't seem to be real aggressive."