LAND O’LAKES — Mitchell’s focus after a couple of weeks off for the holidays was to return to a pattern that has dominated the North Suncoast this season.
So far, the Mustangs have succeeded. After last week’s decisive win over Nature Coast, the Mustangs (14-1) added a 71-38 victory against Land O’Lakes (9-7) on Wednesday night.
Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles said his team is preparing for the playoffs rather than focusing on regular-season matchups. Mitchell and Largo are both undefeated in Class 6A, District 10.
“We don’t know whether they’re going to be the one seed, or we will,” he said.
The Mustangs had a strong focus on rebounds and blocks Wednesday against Land O’Lakes. The Gators countered with several steals, but they couldn’t keep Mitchell away from the rim.
The Gators struggled to score, finally getting a basket with just under two minutes left in the first quarter when Tom Guglielmello hit a field goal. Mitchell was comfortably ahead 16-2 after one quarter.
Land O’Lakes’ offense picked up in the second quarter, scoring 14 points, but the Gators couldn’t catch up.
Several steals foiled a few Mustangs possessions. Land O’Lakes’ Anthony Hendrix snagged the ball from a Mitchell player as the two rolled on their backs under the basket, and he managed to toss it to Ethan Weilant. Weilant passed to Brandon Dorsey, who ran ahead for a layup.
Mitchell started the fourth quarter with a 23-point lead, but rather than let up, the Mustangs scored another 22 points before the buzzer sounded.
Lawrence Watt led the Mustangs in scoring, with 15 points, followed by Bernie Conley with 13. Sean Thompson and Zach Rapaport each had 10 points.
Land O’Lakes’ Guglielmello led his team with 14 points. He was the only Gator player to hit shots beyond the arc (two).
The Mustangs hope to keep their momentum. Their next three games are against district foes: Osceola, Springstead and Largo. The Mustangs have five district games left in the regular season.
St. Charles said the first week of the playoffs is hard to predict until more teams have faced off.
“So the next week and a half will really tell that story,” St. Charles said.