TARPON SPRINGS — Tarpon Springs hung tough for two quarters but Largo’s athleticism proved too much for the young, yet promising, Spongers.
Four Packers scored in double figures during Wednesday night’s 65-53 non-district win, led by 15 points each from Donavan Hale and Jonathan Crawford.
Scottie James’ game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds led the Spongers. Fifteen of those points came in the first half and helped Tarpon Springs head into the locker room with 37-36 lead.
The Spongers offense couldn’t find its rhythm after the break, though.
A 13-0 outburst put the Packers (3-0) on top for good midway through the third quarter. The Tarpon defense left open lanes for Brandon James (12 points, 10 rebounds), Crawford and Hale to cut into and Largo grabbed 10 offensive boards in the second half alone.
“We had them on the ropes for a little bit, but with Largo’s pressure and athletes, we couldn’t compete with them,” said Tarpon Springs coach Jerry Woodka. “I’m just proud of the way the kids played the game.”
It took until the 3:48 mark of the third period for the Spongers to finally score, but they followed up on Mitch Wilcox’s lay-in with a 7-0 spurt of their own.
That run cut Largo’s lead to 49-44, though the margin would shrink no more. The Packers answered again by going on another 13-0 scoring spree that rolled into the fourth quarter. Tarpon Springs didn’t get its first points of the final period until there was only 2:04 left in the game.
The Spongers get back at it Friday night with another big home game. Class 5A District 8 opponent and nearby rival Anclote High comes across the river from Pasco County.
Largo - 13 – 23 – 16 – 13 --- 65
Tarpon - 16 – 21 – 7 – 9 --- 53
Donavan Hale – 15 points (3 3-pointers), 7 rebounds, 3 blocks
Jonathan Crawford – 15 points (3 3-pointers), 7 rebounds
Brandon James – 12 points, 10 rebounds
Dakari Allen – 10 points, 4 rebounds
Scottie James – 24 points (4 3-pointers), 11 rebounds
Mitch Wilcox – 9 points, 5 rebounds
Israel Atkins – 10 points, 6 rebounds
Trai Halton – 8 points, 6 rebounds