LARGO — Donavan Hale scored a game-high 33 points and had seven rebounds to lead Largo to an 81-66 victory against Jefferson in a Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal.
“We got out to an early lead, but then we died,” Largo coach Phillip Price said. “The guys kept fighting, fighting and fighting and we had our bad moments there. (Jefferson) shot 18 free throws in the first half and they shoot their free throws well. I told them to quit fouling.”
Earning trips to the free-throw line was the theme for Jefferson (21-8), as the Dragons went 18 of 34. The Dragons were down 14-1 in the first period, but were able to cut into the lead in the second quarter and came within 37-30 before Hale knocked down three free throws to end the first half.
The closest Jefferson got was 44-38 early in the third period, but Largo (26-2) outscored the Dragons 37-28 the rest of the way. Jonathan Crawford added 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the victory for Largo.
4A-3: Tampa Catholic falls in overtime
AVON PARK — Tamp Catholic was its own worst enemy in the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals. The Crusaders let a 10-point lead slip away in the second half as Avon Park stormed back to force overtime, eventually pulling away to win 74-70.
The Red Devils captured their first victory against Tampa Catholic in four tries, which includes avenging last year’s regional quarterfinal loss.
Thomas Dziagwa paced the Crusaders in scoring, finishing with a game-high 21 points. Chivarsky Corbett and Sam Harris each netted 20.
Avon Park was led by Alfred Brown, who scored 18. John Mason added 14 and Gus Owens contributed 11.
Brandon Howard, Highlands Today
8A-2: Wharton ousts Palm Harbor
TAMPA — Wharton breezed by Palm Harbor 55-23 in a Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinal.
After a slow start to the game, the Wildcats’ defense kept Palm Harbor off the scoreboard for the entire second quarter.
“We do whatever it takes,” Wharton coach Tommy Tonelli said. “Our guys do a good job of staying disciplined on both ends of the floor on every possession. It works.”
Wharton’s John Christian led all scorers with 16 points, but said the Wildcats like to play team defense as much as they enjoy scoring.
“We just executed like our coach taught us in practice,” he said. “We play really, really good defense. We like to come out every game and play our hardest because that’s what we can control. We like to start with our defense.”
8A-2: St. Pete ends Newsome’s season
ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg, the No. 4 ranked team in Class 8A, defeated Newsome 63-38 in a Region 2 quarterfinal.
Ben Clare led St. Petersburg with 15 points while Terrell Burney added 14 and Louisiana Tech signee Dayon Griffin had 13.
Newsome ended its season 16-10 while the Green Devils improved to 21-3.
2A-2: Davis lifts Bayshore Christian
TAMPA — Behind 25 rebounds from Eric Davis, Bayshore Christian defeated Cambridge Christian 60-46 to move on to the Class 2A-Region 2 semifinals.
“Eric is a beast down there,” coach Broderick Day said. “No matter the situation, no matter the game, he gets the job done on the boards.
“He is our Dennis Rodman.”
Davis added eight points while three of his teammates finished in double figures. Josh Humphries had 14 points, Mathew Eckermann had 13 and Greg Johnson added 12.
Leading by six with just more than 5 minutes remaining in the game, Bayshore Christian was able to run more than 2 minutes off the clock as Cambridge Christian stayed in its zone defense. Humphries eventually got fouled and made both free throws to put the game out of reach.
“They were crashing inside all night long sitting in that zone,” Day said. “We decided that if they weren’t going to come after us, we were content with running out the clock.”
Eighth-grader Caleb Young led Cambridge with 17 points.
2A-2: Academy at the Lakes rolls
LAND O’ LAKES — Fresh off its first district title in program history, Academy at the Lakes routed former district nemesis Canterbury, 74-46, in the Class 2A-Region 2 quarterfinals.
The Wildcats (16-10), who were previously 0-9 against the Crusaders (13-12), drilled five 3-pointers in the first quarter and led 43-22 at the half.
“Our outside shooting early really opened things up for our big guys on the inside,” Academy at the Lakes coach Tom Haslam said. “When we shoot the ball like that we’re a pretty good team.”
Ethan Haslam, the all-time scoring leader for Academy at the Lakes, scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
Malik Hall scored 24 of his 26 points in the first three quarters, as the Wildcats reached the regional semifinals for the second time in three years.
Kyle Shealy paced Canterbury with 24 points.