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CLEARWATER — Nature Coast beat Boca Ciega 67-41 Saturday night to advance to the semifinals of the BrightHouse Holiday Tournament.
The Pirates appeared overmatched from the start as the Nature Coast front court, anchored by 6-foot-9 senior standout Tyler Bergantino, dominated the post game on both sides of the floor. Bergantino, who has committed to play for UMass, contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
“Obviously Tyler is the focus of everything we do,” Nature Coast coach Dave Pisarcik said. “We run everything through him, offensively, defensively. You’ve seen tonight all that he can do for us.”
Pisarcik’s team was also effective in bottling up Boca Ciega leading scorer Dallas Moore from 3-point range. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
“We did our research. We knew Dallas Moore …he can play,” Pisarcik said.
After giving up six turnovers in the first half, Boca Ciega went cold in the third quarter, with just two points and one rebound.
“We just can’t find anybody to step up and make some plays right now,” Boca Ciega coach Randy Shuman said. “It’s an inexperienced team. We haven’t been able to replace the seniors that we had last year, so we’re going to struggle and you just have to keep fighting.
“We’re just not real basketball savvy right now. We can’t make adjustments on the court. We don’t have that kind of experience.”
In earlier games, Gibbs beat Bloomingdale 64-43, Sarasota Riverview topped Gateway (Pa.) 66-45, and tournament host Clearwater defeated Alonso 51-42.
The semifinals are Monday, with Clearwater taking on Gibbs, and Nature Coast facing Riverview. The final is Tuesday night at 8:15.