Tampa Catholic’s push for the program’s second state championship ended a with a 60-57 loss to Tallahassee Florida State University School last week in the Class 3A state semifinals.
The Crusaders (22-8) led by 11 at halftime but were outscored 25-13 in the third quarter and the Seminoles held on late to advance to the championship.
Tampa Catholic star sophomore Karter Knox led all scorers March 2 with 21 points and he added a team-high nine rebounds. Eddrin Bronson (12 points) and Karmello Branch (11) joined Knox in double figures scoring.
The Crusaders were playing in their sixth state final four in the past seven years. Tampa Catholic teams advanced to the championship game in 2020 and 2017 during that span, but the program’s lone state title win came in 1995.
Longtime coach Don Dziagwa will have a roster primed for another run next year if it stays consistent. Roderick Watson-Pearcy is the team’s lone member of the Class of 2022. Four players averaged in double figures scoring this season and all four return — Knox (sophomore), Bronson (junior), Branch (junior) and Isaiah Campbell-Finch (freshman).
The Crusaders managed to win its District 3A-5 championship and reach another state final four despite having to play all season on the road or at neutral sites. The school is in the process of building the Kevin Knox II Fieldhouse, named after Karter Knox’s older brother who plays in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks. Knox II made a $2 million donation to the school to build a new gymnasium facility that will be home to a state-of-the-art fitness center, Hall of Fame Pavilion, Champions Hall, coaching suites, video scoreboard, boys and girls locker rooms, bleachers and concessions.
Construction of the new fieldhouse expects to be complete this spring.
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