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NEW PORT RICHEY — Anclote coach Jason Szymanski’s face was dripping with sweat and his voice was scratchy, not from Tuesday’s down-to-the-wire, comeback victory but from the flu bug he has been battling.
That’s why Sharks athletic director Heidi Michaels told him to stay home today.
“You can take a day off after you win,” Michaels joked.
Especially after the way Szymanski’s Sharks overcame a four-point deficit in the final four minutes to pull out a 71-66 road win over Ridgewood. The victory avenged the Rams’ 20-point drubbing of Anclote (6-5) last month in the Class 5A, District 8 opener and ended a two-game losing skid.
“Honestly I think they just wanted to get that revenge,” Szymanski said.
And they showed it early.
Anclote held the Rams (8-3) to only one field goal in the first six minutes and used seven quick points from Tymere Carter to start with an 11-3 run. He and his twin brother, Shymere Carter, combined for 25 points and 20 rebounds.
Ridgewood eventually rallied behind its two standout senior shooters. Tristan Ficarro scored 19 of his 21 in the first half, and Adam Ibrahim had 10 of his game-high 26 points in the final quarter. Ibrahim’s three-point play with 3:57 left gave the Rams a 64-60 lead — and left Anclote thinking back to last month’s blowout.
“They were embarrassed at that first one,” Szymanski said.
So the Sharks pushed back to prevent a repeat defeat. Tymere Carter sank a free throw, and junior Drew Driscoll drained a pull-up jumper to cut the deficit to one.
Chris Palamidis swished a 3-pointer from the corner, and Driscoll converted a three-point play after a Sharks steal. Driscoll rescued his team by scoring 11 of his team-high 18 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s about time,” Szymanski said. “He needs to step up. He can be a great player when he puts his mind to it.”
Ridgewood had a final chance, trailing by three in the closing minute. But Tymere Carter poked the ball out, and senior captain Dylan Walsh corralled it to seal Anclote’s revenge and leave the Rams feeling sick.