Boys Basketball: Cardinal Newman rolls to sixth straight win
Friday, February 01, 2013
by Jeff Greer
Sometime in December, everything clicked for Cardinal Newman.
Tavarus Harris' Crusaders started defending better, running harder and playing together. Practices looked sharper. Everything just worked.
Friday's senior night 75-40 blowout of Glades Day just continued the Newman narrative. The Crusaders have now won six consecutive games and 13 of their past 15. Not a bad way to head into the district playoffs.
"It's all because of defense," Harris said.
Newman (15-6) allows 48.8 points a game. The Crusaders have drawn more than 80 charges -- "charges that were called," Harris corrects -- and that's with only two seniors on the roster.
On Friday, Newman's size and athleticism overwhelmed Glades Day (10-6) from the get-go.
Andrew Owers (16 points) came alive in the second half, scoring most of his points in transition, including a two-handed breakaway dunk. Fellow sophomore John Collins added 10 points, and senior Kyle Cunningham made two 3-pointers on the way to 13 points.
Newman now faces a five-day break. First up in the District 12-4A tournament: Lincoln Park, which Newman beat twice this winter but struggled in both games. Seventh-ranked St. Andrew's looms as the top seed in the bracket.
But Harris has confidence in his group, especially the way its been playing lately. The Crusaders beat St. Andrew's last week, and played fourth-ranked Jupiter and eighth-ranked Suncoast close earlier this season before their hot streak began.
In other words, the season-opening 74-24 loss to Palm Beach Lakes feels like a different season altogether.
"We've come a long way," Harris said. "We're a better team."
They're closer, too. Before Friday's win, the players left school and traveled together to City Place. They ate as a team and saw "Movie 43" in the theater.
They came back to Newman and thrashed one of their school's biggest rivals, and went to Duffy's after that.
Everything's clicking, on and off the court, Harris said. That makes Newman a dangerous squad as the playoffs start.
"It's been fun watching them grow," said Harris. "And they're young."