TAMPA — Lennard guard Diontae Johnson’s three-pointer with 1:22 left helped the Longhorns outlast Jefferson on Saturday for a 73-69 victory in the Class 6A-District 9 final.
The win gave the Lennard basketball program its first district championship.
“This is four years of hard work and it is a big step for our program,” Lennard coach Danny Gaddis said. “It’s universal from our players, our fans, our family and I think after eight years (since the school opened), we are putting Lennard High School on the map.”
Lennard (22-4) had four players with double-digit scoring as senior captain Caelen Watts led the way with 25. He was joined by Gary Hector (16 points), Robert Gant (12) and Johnson, who finished with 11 points.
After the win, Watts said bringing home a district title was something he and his fellow seniors had hoped for since his first game as a freshman.
“All the pressure leading up to the game and the way this went down to the end — it was really exciting,” Watts said. “We’ve been waiting four years for this win. It means everything to us.”
Jefferson (21-7) trailed by only one point heading into the fourth quarter and got a big lift from senior Tamir Blackshear, who scored 13 of his 23 points in the final eight minutes.
Junior Maurice Moore finished with 16 points for the Dragons.
- Jarrett Guthrie
3A-7: Durham’s 29 points lead Tampa Prep to another title
TAMPA — For Tampa Prep, some things never get old.
The Terps won their ninth straight district title with a 73-53 win over Brooks-DeBartolo on Saturday in a game that was closer than the score indicates. The Phoenix were trailing by 12 with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter and went to the line for two technical free throws. Both rimmed out and the Phoenix failed to score on their possession.
From that point, sophomore Juwan Durham put on a show, scoring eight of his game-high 29 points as the Terps pulled away.
Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenton has been here before, and he said this team is a little different than his 2012 state champions. His two leading scorers on Saturday — Durham and Michael Fridella — weren’t part of that team, but they played with the same attitude.
“This year and tonight we showed the sign of a team that has matured a lot and learned a lot,’’ Fenton said. “We got sloppy with the technical and had a letdown, but we scored some baskets and got back our control.”
Durham had another big game and capped things off with a 360 dunk, but Fridella had one of the best games of his short Tampa Prep career with 16 points and nine rebounds.
“Mike stepped up for us and that was big,’’ Fenton said.
“This felt insane,’’ Fridella said. “I felt great tonight and I had everything going. It was just a great night.’’
The Terps jumped to an 18-12 first quarter lead and took a 35-27 lead at the half. Fridella got hot and the Terps started to pull away in the third quarter before Brooks-DeBartolo rallied.
The Phoenix almost cut the lead to single digits, but the Terps went on a 16-6 run to ice it. Taz Strauch added 11 points for the Terps. Jarred Anderson and Michael Obi combined for 29 for the Phoenix.
- Jeff Berlinicke