Ft. Myers, Fla. – Facing a six-point deficit at the half, Tampa Catholic rallied back to defeat Charlotte 66-54 in the Sunshine Series round of the City of Palms Classic. TC was one of 26 teams to participate in the tournament, but landed in the local six-team bracket.
Led by junior forward Kevin Knox 27 points and 12 rebounds and senior guard Thomas Dziagwa’s 23 points and five assists the Crusaders improved to 6-1 and now have won six straight since dropping their season opener against Orlando First Academy.
Knox put up a tough game hammering down big dunks and dragging down defenders in the post as he added 12 points in the second half. Dziagwa shot just 1-of-9 in the first half, but fought back to add 18 of his 23 points over the last two quarters.
Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, Dziagwa was pumping up his team and even said “we are going to win”, that despite a 44-43 deficit. Confidence is in Dziagwa’s repertoire and it shows. The Oklahoma State commit saved the best for last in this game.
“I was just trying to get my teammates hyped and everything,” he said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball very well these past couple of games, but I knew if we stuck together we would win. We have a very talented team.”
Alongside Knox, Tampa Catholic has a chance on any given night no matter who they’re playing. Dziagwa said this win was big against a solid Charlotte group and one that should build confidence.
Before I could even finish my question regarding his thoughts on this tournament appearance, Dziagwa voiced his opinion.
“To be honest we felt disrespected. We felt like we should have been invited but regardless this game was good for us. Now it’s time to open up some people’s eyes.”
Knox, who is currently the No. 16 ranked prospect in the 2017 class makes a great pair with the crafty Dziagwa. Even though Tampa Catholic didn’t play it’s best game as he pointed out, the tandem of Knox and Dziagwa works hard everyday in the gym to get better.
This is a dangerous team that should feel disrespected for not being a part of the 16-team bracket at the City of Palms Classic. Looking to get to the a Class 4A finals is on both Knox’s and Dziagwa’shot mind and rightfully so.
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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