Alan, You did well, considering the limitations of your boat and sail inventory. I sail a C22 and have found it more seaworthy than I am.
Good that you battened down your hatches, secured your lockers, and installed the bigger cockpit drains on your boat. I learned that lesson the hard way.
I would recommend investing in a new 110% jib and a heavy weather sail. I have used the heavy weather sail to good effect in high wind when I've needed to maintain control and a degree of comfort. You definitely need a smaller headsail when the wind is more than about 15 knots. Where I sail, I'm usually off the water before I would need a second reef in the main, but you might consider adding a 2nd reef to yours.
You probably would have done better to run off, as you said. In a small boat like the C22, big beam-on waves are a bigger concern than the wind. But there are lots of C22s sailing in coastal waters like yours, and a fair number sailing to the Bahamas from Florida, given a good weather window. So don't rule out your boat as inadequate for your waters. Just be aware of what it's capable of and what it is not.