TAMPA – Tampa Prep may be the team with a state title and 12 straight region quarterfinal appearances, but it’s Shorecrest Prep that comes in as a very intimidating opponent.
After knocking off Seffner Christian in the Class 3A-District 7 championship last Saturday, the Terrapins (17-10) will welcome a Shorecrest Prep squad that fell to Calvary Christian 61-45 in the District 8 title game. The Chargers (18-9) struggled to keep up the pace since its top player, senior guard Marcus Blake had three fouls before halftime and four just two minutes into the third quarter. Prior to that loss, Shorecrest Prep had won 10 straight games.
The 6’2″, 185-pound Blake is listed as a guard, but he’s been asked to play forward and matches up against players much bigger than him. Shorecrest Prep head coach Daryl Blume calls him a “slasher.” Well, the Chargers need their slasher tonight as they appear in their seventh consecutive region quarterfinal. Shorecrest advanced to the state semifinal round in both 2012 and 2014.
That 2014 matchup came against Tampa Prep, who went onto to lose in the state final. This is just the second playoff game between the two preparatory schools.
For the Terrapins, senior guard Tyson Ward has been everything and more for his group averaging a team-best 16.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Ward has recorded double digits in all but one game this season and has seven double-doubles while shooting 53 percent from the field.
After Ward, freshman guard Jaren Phillips has been the next best thing with 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Phillips is shooting 57 percent from the field and has 23 points and 11 boards so far in the playoffs. Sophomore forward Trey Sibert is a steady player behind Ward and Phillips with averages of 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Under 33rd-year head coach Joe Fenlon, Tampa Prep always has a chance. I mean this is their 22nd region quarterfinal appearance in 23 years. That’s beyond impressive.
Ward and Phillips are going to have to do everything in their power offensively to make things happen while the rest of this group tries to slow down the Shorecrest Prep attack who is averaging just over 68 points per game. In comparison, Tampa Prep is averaging 64.2 points per game.
This should be a good one. Of the 129 region quarterfinals tonight in the state of Florida, 39 will take place in Tampa Bay, the meeting between Shorecrest Prep and Tampa Prep certainly ranks up there with the best of them.
Note: The winner of tonight’s game will play either Calvary Christian or Seffner Christian next Tuesday in the region semifinal.
Other games to keep an eye on:
Armwood-Land O’ Lakes
Bishop Verot-Tampa Catholic
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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