DOVER — Tampa Bay Tech has won a district championship the past two years. Strawberry Crest, meanwhile, is seeking its first.
Thrust into the same district for the first time this year, the programs will compete for the Class 7A-District 7 title on Thursday at 7 p.m. after advancing to the final in dominating fashion.
Strawberry Crest, the top-seeded host that is ranked fifth in the 7A state poll, defeated Brandon 63-13, while Tampa Bay Tech, the second seed, topped third-seeded Plant City, 78-30.
The 35-point mercy rule was put into effect for both games.
Senior guard Aliyah Gregory led the Chargers with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and had four steals. In the second semifinal, four players scored in double figures for the Titans, led by Brianna Thomas with 24 points. Kirtisha Nelson added 18 points and five assists.
Strawberry Crest defeated Tampa Bay Tech twice during the regular season.
“They say (it’s tough to beat a team three times), but Sickles beat us five times last year,” Strawberry Crest coach LaTosha Lewis said. “We’re 0-6 or 0-7 against Sickles in two years, so I’m going with that. If they can beat a team five times, we can beat a team five times.”
The Chargers won the last meeting, 73-49.
5A-9: Spoto edges Robinson, 43-41
TAMPA — With 32 seconds remaining in the game, Spoto junior forward Ivanie Carswell made two free throws to give the Spartans the lead and an eventual 43-41 win against Robinson to advance to Thursday’s Class 5A-District 9 championship.
Spoto, the third seed in the tournament, will face top-seeded Middleton at Robinson at 7 p.m.
The win secures a playoff berth for Spoto (3-15), which will make its third region tournament appearance and first since 2011.
Carswell finished with a game-high 32 points, while Aaliyah Gordon led Robinson with 12 points.
“They’ve come a very long way,” said first-year Spoto coach Katherine Lee. “I’m very proud of them.”
2A-7: Cambridge advances to final
TAMPA — A chance to reach the postseason stood on the line in Tuesday’s Class 2A-District 7 semifinal between the Tampa Bay HEAT and host Cambridge Christian.
The Lancers used their size to control the boards, winning the rebounding battle with 31 and used a strong second quarter to come away with a 38-20 victory against the HEAT.
“Our girls just kept their composure in that first quarter,” Cambridge Christian coach John Wilson said. “We wanted to force (Tampa Bay HEAT) to shoot a lot of jump shots, because we felt like they wouldn’t be able to make many of them. We had a good second quarter to help us along the way.”
The Tampa Bay HEAT (3-7) started off with a promising opening quarter, as they jumped out to a 7-4 lead. Cambridge, though, would tighten up defensively in the final three quarters of play, only allowing 13 points the rest of the way. The Lancers (5-14) were able to outscore the HEAT 12-2 in the second period, and that would prove to be the difference in the contest.
Jasmine Preseau led the HEAT in scoring with 12 points and had six rebounds, and Ariana Cordona paced Cambridge with 11 points and four boards. Cambridge will take on Academy at the Lakes in Thursday’s 2A-7 championship game at 7 p.m.