Bayshore wipes out 19-point deficit to advance to district boys basketball semifinal
BRADENTON -- With four sophomores and a junior in his starting lineup, Wilmore Fowler never knows what to expect.
The Bayshore boys head basketball coach knew at halftime Tuesday of the Bruins' Class 5A-District 11 quarterfinal he had seen enough.
Tarpon Springs held a 14-point lead and was beating the Bruins in every facet, outrebounding them 11-8 on the defensive boards, 13-6 on the offensive glass and outshooting them 35 attempts to 24.
"In the locker room I really got on them and they played with a lot more intensity and focus in the second half," Fowler said. "I told them we don't play like this and need to come out with some energy."
It took awhile, but Fowler's message began to resonate with about three minutes left in the quarter and the Bruins down by 19 points.
They revved up on the defensive end holding Tarpon Springs to eight fourth-quarter points to keep their season alive with a 62-58 victory Tuesday night,
The triumph sends Bayshore to top seed St. Petersburg Gibbs on Wednesday night and improves the Bruins record to 13-13.
"They killed us on the boards. We don't have a big kid, but we can do a better job of boxing out," Fowler said. "We've got some talent. We are just young. Sometimes we play individually, but when we play as a team we can be very good."
After trailing the entire game, Bayshore finally tied it at 57 with 1:39 left on two free throws by sophomore Jaylen Pauley.
Tarpon Springs (9-15) converted one of two free throws to retake the lead, but Pauley drove in for a layup to give Bayshore its first edge at 59-58 with 48 seconds remaining.
Tarpon Springs missed three consecutive shots under its basket as Bayshore went into a frenetic defensive stand.
Bonna Baker, another Bruins sophomore, calmly drained two free throws for a 61-58 lead with 13.5 seconds left
Tarpon Springs missed two foul shots and Baker drained one of two from the charity stripe to account for the final score with 4.5 seconds left.
Pauley led Bayshore with 22 points, including 16 in the second half and 11 in the fourth quarter when he connected on four of five field goal attempts. Baker finished with 10 points and had five in the fourth quarter and eight in the second half.
The Bruins defense tightened up in the second half limiting Tarpon Springs to six for 27 shooting after the Spongers shot 15 of 35 in the first half,
Tarpon Springs shot 2 of 14 in the fourth quarter and in the final 2:18 missed all seven shots and turned the ball over five times.
"I kept telling the kids it's not over, and we just got to keep playing and we can get back into the game," Fowler said. "In the second half we came out and pressed and played some man and rotated well. Playing another game helps. We can run with anybody if we play like we are capable of playing."