TAMPA – It’s been a pretty good year for Tampa Bay Tech sports.
Their football team grabbed a 9-2 record and a district championship just a couple of months ago. Their basketball team made history on Thursday night.
The Titans took the court at the Tampa Bay ThunderDome on the campus of TBT 19-0, on the verge of their first undefeated season in school history. The only team standing in their way? A winless Riverview (0-17) looked to make the upset of the year by taking down the Titans at home.
Tampa Bay Tech quickly jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first minute, getting the crowd involved on senior night. The crowd got deafening after just a couple of minutes in.
Riverview kept pace through the first quarter, managing the deficit well, but it was mainly because Tampa Bay Tech wasn’t making their shots. A few alley-oop dunks went array for the Titans, giving the Sharks a chance.
However, Michael Penix Jr. (yes, the Titan’s starting quarterback during the fall) finally threw two dunks down in a matter of 15 seconds to get the crowd on the feet. The Sharks were stunned.
TBT lead 15-10 after one. It was the closest Riverview would get after that. The Titans extended their lead to 17 after Riverview didn’t score for the first six minutes of the second quarter, and it just got larger.
With a half away until history, the Titans lead 31-16. Tyrese Williams and Penix both scored eight first-half points. Jaden Morrison lead the Sharks with seven at that point. He was the main offense for Riverview on the low block all night, strong on defense as well.
From there, it was the Williams and Penix show (scoring a combined 16 of TBT’s 25 points in the third quarter), and Tampa Bay Tech extended their lead even further. There was an electric charge in the air from the fans.
They knew what was about to happen.
Riverview kept shooting and kept missing, which gave Tampa Bay Tech more opportunities on the fast break. They didn’t disappoint.
Quintin Acree hoisted a three to put the running clock on, and the Titans continued to pour it on. The clock ran down to zeros and the ’16-’17 version of the Titans became history. They torched the Sharks in the second half, finalizing the score at 76-35.
Williams, a transfer over the offseason from Spoto, scored 18 for TBT. Penix finished with 17 off the bench. Tyrick Brascom added ten.
The Titans finished 20-0, a remarkable season for the team that had high hopes going into the season. They exceeded many expectations and will now try to move past the regional quarterfinal, where they lost to St. Petersburg in 2015. Tampa Bay Tech will have a first-round bye in the Class 8A-District 9 tournament and will face the winner of Plant City/Durant next week as they trek towards the postseason.
“It means a lot just to be out here coaching these young men. They come out every day and give it everything they’ve got. They understand the vision, they understand that it’s about the team over one, and I’m really excited. I’m so proud of each and every young man that is a part of this team. The transfers are very important, but we’ve got some guys that are juniors and seniors that have played since they were freshmen. Those kids lead by example every single day. Every guy is just as important as the next on this team. It’s a new season, right now we’re 0-0. I’m very confident that if we play like we’re supposed to play and like we’ve been playing, we’ll get very far. We’re taking each game one at a time.” – Tampa Bay Tech HC Adrian Johnson.
“It means a lot to go 20-0, we’ve all put in the work and Coach has been really making sure that we all play together and he keeps us very conditioned. I feel great, I get this athleticism from my mom and my dad who were both really good athletes, and it all just feels so good,” – Tampa Bay Tech F Michael Penix Jr.
“Everything feels so unreal. I kept telling him [Tyrick Brascom] that I was going to come here, I was just slacking on some things, but when I finally got here at Tech, I saw the team, I saw what we had, and I knew right then and there it was all good. Tyrick and I have such good chemistry because we’ve been playing ball with each other for so long [since middle school], it just made it so much more unreal to me. I feel like both of us feed off of each other. We both bring the energy, him getting around a defender, me making a three, we just get the whole team together.” – Tampa Bay Tech F Tyrese Williams on his relationship with Tyrick Brascom.
“I knew when he was going to Tech he would be a great addition, so that’s just why I kept pushing him to come and with him and newcomers, I knew we really had it this year. I feel like my leadership on the court is huge for us. I play with a lot of heart, and because of that I feel that the team plays with a lot of heart, so it’s just about keeping it going.” – Tampa Bay Tech G Tyrick Brascom.