BROOKSVILLE — After losing a tough game to Wiregrass Ranch on Thursday night, Nature Coast looked to bounce back Friday at home against a talented Mitchell squad.
The Mustangs had the Sharks on the ropes before Nature Coast stormed back for an 83-67 victory.
“After (the Wiregrass Ranch game), I am proud of how the boys played,” Nature Coast coach David Pisarcik said. “We play a tougher schedule now so we’re ready for February. I want the boys to get tested so they’re prepared for the stretch.”
Mitchell (2-1) held a five-point lead at the half thanks to a 3-point barrage from Bernie Conley. The junior was the team’s leading scorer coming into the game and hit his first four shots from downtown and went 5-for-6 in the half for 15 points.
Pisarcik motivated his players in the locker room, and the Sharks (4-1) looked completely different in the second half.
“The most important thing is to rally to their shooters,” Pisarcik said. “It’s important to know a team’s tendencies, and once we settled down we were able to become more aggressive.”
Conley cooled off, finishing with 20 points, going 6-for-13 from beyond the arc.
The offensive motivator was Carlos Clemente. A junior who moved to Florida from Puerto Rico over the summer, Clemente has become a solid scorer for Nature Coast. Held to only four points in the first half, he exploded for 20 in the second, including four 3s.
A state semifinal program from last season, the Sharks lost star center and current UMass player Tyler Bergantino to graduation. Forward Rohan Blackwood was expected to fill his role, and with 18 points and 15 rebounds per game coming in, he was managing.
Blackwood was in foul trouble Friday night, but still went for another double double with 11 points and 10 boards. The emergence of forward Yamil Marrero made Nature Coast difficult to stop for the Mustangs. The senior nearly went for a triple double with 12 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and six assists.