The Bartow High School Yellow Jackets boys basketball team entered the annual Mosaic Stinger Shootout Friday night with a 21-2 record.
Entering their contest with the West Oaks Academy Flames, the Jackets hadn’t faced many teams that were taller than them. Early in the game the Flames pretty much had their way and a woeful shooting night for the Jackets spelled early trouble.
Bartow trailed from the opening basket and found themselves down 19-8 after one quarter of play.
The second quarter saw the Jackets find their legs after being pushed around and beat down in the first. Bartow cut the deficit to nine points, trailing 31-22 at the half.
The Jackets were 9-34 from the floor in the first half. That included a shocking
0-9 from the three-point line. Would Bartow regain that shooting form that already helped win them 21 games?
That answer was a mixed bag as BHS would hit 15-35 in the second half. They only made two of their 12 three-point attempts in the half, but those two threes were made during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter by Quincy Childs that sealed the game for Bartow.
Those two threes along with a suffocating Jacket defense, led BHS to a 59-49 win. West Oaks had scored 19 points in the first quarter alone. After turning up the defensive pressure, the Jackets only allowed 18 points the entire second half.
Remarkably, Childs only scored those six points. The Jackets were led by Chris Perry who had 14 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Also leading BHS was Derrick Brooks who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
On Saturday, Bartow took on highly ranked and defending state champion, Tampa Prep. The team from Tampa came in with a 22-2 record.
The game featured two future USF Bulls as Bartow’s big man Chris Perry is headed there next year. Also headed to play for the Bulls is Tampa Prep Point Guard Josh Heath.
Both teams played aggressive defense, holding the opposing team well below their season averages. The score went back and forth the entire contest. So much so that overtime was needed with a 39-39 score at the end of regulation. Heath was the difference in the overtime, going a perfect six for six, giving Tampa Prep a 48-43 win.
Tonight, the district tournament begins for the Jackets at 6 p.m. at George Jenkins. Bartow earned a first round bye and will play either Lakeland or George Jenkins. Their game was played last night and finished later than the print deadline.
The opponent will be known and the Jackets will look to dominate the district (9-1 in regular season) as they did all season. Win the first game and the Jackets head to the Regional playoffs. Win the district and the Jackets play that first Regional game at home.