By Ledger staff
BARTOW – Tim Jordan banked an off-balanced 3-pointer off the glass at the third-quarter buzzer and Bartow was in business.
The Yellow Jackets held off Tampa Wharton 46-36 on Tuesday in a Class 8A regional quarterfinal and will now travel to Tampa Sickles on Tuesday for a semifinal showdown. Sickles advanced after stifling Kathleen 54-36.
“First of all, (Sickles) is excellent defensively,” Bartow head coach Terrence McGriff said. “They are really good to hold Kathleen to 36. They have a point guard, a shooter and a post guy, and then the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh guy can all play. They pounded us in the summer. They beat us by 15 or 16 points. They don’t give anything defensively and we have to be ready to play.”
Jordan came ready to play Tuesday, leading Bartow with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. But it was his buzzer-beater to end third that gave the Jackets the lift they needed heading into fourth quarter and a 33-23 lead.
“We were just trying to be patient and get the last shot and find the best shot we could,” Jordan said.
The Bartow senior also snagged five rebounds, picked up one steal and dished out one assist.
“Tim was phenomenal tonight, offensively and on the boards. So we are going to need that against Sickles.”
T.J. Harvin provided the early hot-hand, scoring 10 first-quarter points to spark the Jackets to a 12-3 lead.
“I just came into the game and really pushed the ball to get to the rim,” Harvin said. “They gave me open shots and I just took them.”
But the second quarter was a bit baffling and sluggish with neither team scoring a point until Wharton senior Dae’Son Barnes canned the front end of a one-and-one with 4:20 left in the quarter.
Both teams only mustered seven points each in the quarter and Bartow held a 19-10 lead heading into the half.
“We just struggle sometimes offensively,” McGriff said. “We just tried to keep guarding, keep defending. We tried to limit second shots and we tried not to turn the ball over, because if we turn the ball over, they get easy baskets. We try to take good shots, sometimes we struggle to make them but we just keep guarding and good things happen.”
The third quarter had the most sizzle with Bartow outscoring Wharton 14-13 and Jordan nailing a 3-pointer at the 3:29 mark to put the Jackets up 26-23. He also scored on breakaway layup to put Bartow up 30-23 before canning the final third quarter shot at the buzzer.
“We are thankful for the win, thankful to the Lord and to be able to continue to be playing,” McGriff said.
“There are four teams left in the region, and we are one of the four. There are 88 teams in the state in our class and 16 left. We don’t take that for granted. We value it and cherish it.”
Wharton was led by Barnes with 11 points while Reggie Jennings and Ronaldo Williams scored 10 apiece.