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BROOKSVILLE — For a brief moment after the opening tipoff, it looked as if Central was going to hang with county rival Nature Coast.
That moment passed quickly.
In a game at the Bear Den, the Sharks more than doubled up the score on the Bears on Thursday for a 66-32 victory.
Nature Coast (15-2) was down 5-3 early in front a jam-packed crowd, but when point guard Victor Davila started feeling the touch from outside, things changed.
“Teams expect us to slow it down and go inside,” Davila said. “I like to push the pace and catch them off guard. I work on my shot every morning, and I felt real comfortable out there today.”
The sophomore floor general led all scorers with 13 points and three 3-pointers. The Sharks knocked down seven 3s, part of a 19-3 first-half run that distanced them in front of a hostile crowd.
Star center Tyler Bergantino was contained by Central (9-4), being held under his season averages in points, rebounds and blocks. However, the big man dominated without putting up huge numbers. With three blocked shots in the first half, he discouraged the Bears’ offense from going inside and changed the complexion of the game.
“Tyler is the type of player who can dominate on either end of the floor,” Nature Coast coach Dave Pisarcik said. “Central came out with a lot of intensity, and he rose to the challenge.”
Bergantino filled the stat sheet before the night was over, totaling eight points, nine rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals.
Central was led by Joey Stokes with 13 points and five rebounds. Stokes saw more opportunities because the Sharks locked down top scorer Rudy Robinson with a series of double teams.
For the first time this season Central has dropped two in a row, after losing earlier in the week at Lecanto.