TAMPA — The holidays haven’t been kind to Bloomingdale High’s boys basketball team in recent years.
“Maybe it’s Santa Claus, maybe it’s New Year’s, maybe it’s … who knows?” Bloomingdale coach Joe Willis said. “All I know is that I was going to do whatever I could to get us ready during these holidays.”
He did. After a few extra days of focused practices and intense pep talks, Willis stood Saturday night in the center of Alonso’s home court holding the championship trophy of the Buffalo Wild Wings Holiday tournament. Moments earlier, Willis’ Bulls defeated Armwood 71-61 to win the title and finish the Holiday-tournament season 4-1.
On Saturday, 6-foot-10 center George Brammeier came up the biggest, leading with 24 points, including 10 straight to start the second half on layups or resounding dunks. After several scores, Brammeier pumped his fists and hollered toward his bench, “We are going to win this game!”
Brammeier said he got fired up after Bloomingdale (10-4) looked deflated at halftime with the score tied at 24.
“I told myself I’m going to do whatever I can to get us going,” said Brammeier, named the tournament’s most valuable player. “We came out like gangbusters to start the game (leading 16-7 after the first quarter), but then we hit a lull. I was going to make sure we got fired up again.”
At one point in the third quarter, Brammeier helped push the lead to 38-30, but then felt so gassed he asked Willis for a little break.
“I was tired,” Brammeier said.
Fortunately for him, teammates Jake Baer and Todd Keiser, who finished with 17 and 14 points respectively, chipped in with several key outside shots.
“When we get that extra pass (and the outside shooting) going we can look pretty good,” Willis said. “Tonight was really encouraging.”
Armwood (8-6) was led by Kieran Smith, who led all scorers with 27 points. Javone King and Devante Myles chipped in 11 and 10 points apiece.
In Saturday’s consolation games, Robinson defeated Clearwater 73-66 and Wesley Chapel beat Alonso 60-46.