Boys hoops: Bucs wrap up district's top seed

Tampa Catholic goes cold in the second half and Berkeley Prep takes advantage.

By PETER ARRABAL, Times Correspondent
Published January 26, 2008

TAMPA - Berkeley Prep used a strong second half to overwhelm Tampa Catholic 72-51 and clinch the top spot in Class 3A, District 11.

"It feels great to get the top seed," Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart said. "It doesn't guarantee us anything though, but we do know that we won't have to come to play Tampa Catholic on their home court anymore, and that is a comforting feeling."

The Crusaders (13-8) fell behind early as Berkeley Prep (17-3) jumped to a 12-4 lead. The Bucs maintained their dominance until the second quarter, when the Crusaders cut the lead to 24-22 with 2:24 left in the half.

The Bucs' depth was too much for Tampa Catholic, which slipped in the second half. Berkeley opened the third quarter by making five consecutive shots and hit seven of their first 10 before the Crusaders finally got on the board with 5:04 left in the quarter.

The Bucs used the run to extend their lead to 11 and Tampa Catholic was unable to close the gap the rest of the game.

Poor shooting plagued the Crusaders, who made only 20 percent of their shots in the third quarter, and hit just shy of 30 percent in the fourth. The Bucs, however, made 60 percent of their third-quarter attempts and half of their shots in the fourth.

Johnathan Gray led all scorers with 19 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the second half.

Berkeley Prep's Austin Suarez turned in nine points, passing the 1,000 mark for his career.

"It was well deserved for Austin," Reinhart said. "He worked really hard tonight. I'm glad to see him get to that mark."

Berkeley Prep 72 Tampa Catholic 51