Bayshore boys and girls teams advance to Smoothie King Classic finals

jdill@bradenton.comDecember 29, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Bayshore's basketball program has a chance to become the second team to sweep the Smoothie King Classic at Bradenton Christian.

The Bruins earned that opportunity after defeating Sarasota Christian's boys and girls teams Saturday during the semifinals.

The tournament's host, BCS, won both divisions in 2009.

"It means a lot for the school," Bayshore boys head coach Wilmore Fowler said. "The girls and boys have been working hard over the summer and all season to get to this stage now."

Fowler's group finished off the Blazers 70-58 using a high-pressure defensive effort to take away Sarasota Christian's distinct advantage in the post.

The move worked for the Bruins (6-8), who rebounded from an early 6-0 hole to take a 15-point lead into halftime.

"We work 75 percent on defense in practice," Fowler said. "We had some good man-to-man help defense, and … we kept pressing."

The Bruins play for the boys title 8 p.m. Monday after receiving stellar games from Justin Harris (18 points), Wesley Jackson (15 points), Demarco Syed-Fisher (11 points) and Scooter McDuffie (10 points).

It's the first time the Bruins will compete for the boys championship since the Smoothie King Classic began in 2007.

Bayshore's girls beat Sarasota Christian 62-56 in overtime and are looking for their second Smoothie King title after winning their first in 2010.

Jo Jo Muldoon had a team-high 23 points, while Taylor Izatt and Joy Norman chipped in 19 and 13 points for Bayshore.

The Bruins meet Manatee at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The Hurricanes, who beat Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian 52-43 on Saturday, have defeated Bayshore twice this season.

Manatee's defense forced 30 turnovers.

"Not knowing the teams that we're playing, we figured we'd hit them hard and fast," Manatee head coach Flo Brazukas said. "That worked well for us."

Jacqui Armer had 17 points for Manatee, and Jessalyn Kinlaw added 11 and Nicole Hittel chipped in 10.

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