By DON JENSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2001
TAMPA -- Jesuit's potent offense was stashed away for most of the night. Then Stash Graham took over.
Graham scored 11 of his 13 points in a fourth-quarter blitz as the Tigers pulled away from Tampa Catholic for a 53-40 win Saturday at the Bob Martinez Sports Center.
Jesuit (10-4), which entered the game averaging 75 points on 52 percent shooting, was struggling with a 30-28 lead after three quarters when it took charge. The Tigers hit seven of their first 10 shots in a 23-point fourth-quarter, and Graham kept Tampa Catholic (4-10) at bay with three three-pointers. "We've been shooting really well (this season) and knew it was just a matter of time before we got untracked," Jesuit coach Neal Goldman said.
The loss was Tampa Catholic's sixth in a row and 10th in its past 11 games. "I've been here for 10 years, and I believe it's the first time we've lost six straight and ever been 4-10," Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said.
The Crusaders' depth was challenged as forward Gary Garcia missed the game because of strep throat and two starters, Keith Duhart and Mike Faedo, committed three fouls in the first half.
But Tampa Catholic's bench, led by Anthony de la Torre, Antonio Richards and Andrew Joyce, sparked the Crusaders to a 28-25 lead midway through the third quarter. However, Tampa Catholic missed its final 10 shots of the third quarter, and the Tigers scored eight consecutive points to go in front for good. Graham's first three-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave Jesuit a 33-28 lead, and his final two treys keyed a 12-5 spurt to push the Tigers' lead to 47-38.
Dziagwa said he was not surprised by Jesuit's late run.
"If you look at all of our games we've lost, it's always something like that," Dziagwa said. "A good three quarters, maybe two quarters. Tonight, we waited until the fourth quarter to not do very much."
Tampa Catholic, which made only 16 of 52 shots from the field, got 10 points apiece from Faedo and James Dennis.