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Tampa Prep advances to Classic semifinal

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 21, 2001

TAMPA -- When Tampa Prep coach Jon Fenlon set up this year's Tampa Bay Holiday Classic he knew it wouldn't be easy to reach the finals.

That was the way he and his players wanted it.

But the Terrapins, ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A poll, advanced to today's second semifinal to face Plant by cruising to a 70-44 first-round win over Riverview.

"We're excited to play Plant," Fenlon said. "It'll be a nice little South Tampa get together."

The 0-10 Sharks were simply outmatched, and Tampa Prep turned numerous steals and turnovers into easy layups.

"This game served its purpose," Fenlon said. "We haven't played or practiced in nearly two weeks because of final exams."

The rust didn't show as the Terrapins led 21-11 after one quarter and 46-18 at the half behind the all-around play of 6-foot-5 junior forward David Smith.

Smith did it all -- 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers, put-backs and free throws -- for 18 in the first half.

"He's been our leading scorer the last two years," Fenlon said. "We're trying to ease him outside a little this year."

Riverview did mount a mini-rally in the fourth quarter as Jerrell Sheppard scored nine of his team-high 12.

"The kids are excited to play," Fenlon said. "Plant's tough. Jefferson and Pace are also tough." Both Plant and Jefferson are ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A, and Pace is 11-2.

In today's other semifinal Jefferson faces Pace (Ga.) at 6 p.m. Tampa Prep faces Plant at 7:30 p.m. Plant advanced with an 80-46 win over Tampa Catholic, and Pace won a double overtime marathon against Chamberlain 87-85. Plant took a 34-29 lead at halftime and held Catholic to 17 second-half points. The loser's bracket gets underway at 3 p.m. with Chamberlain playing Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic facing Riverview at 4:30 p.m. Berkeley Prep lost to Jefferson 83-52 in the night's third game. Tarence Kinsey led the Dragons with 34 points, and Spiros Ferderigos led Berkeley with 19.

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