Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

4A boys basketball: Nature Coast conquers Ridgewood on Rams' home court

NEW PORT RICHEY — Mike Bergantino's thumbs danced across his phone as quickly as a proud father can text message.

He related Nature Coast's huge lead, how rough the game had turned and how dominant his son had been on his old high school basketball court.

If Tyler Bergantino looked a little too comfortable Tuesday in a 76-58 win at Ridgewood, it's because somewhere deep inside he was on familiar ground. His father was a 1990 Ridgewood alumnus. Mike pointed to the spot on Anders Court where he hit the school's first 3-pointer. He shook hands with a Ridgewood fan, who said, "Some of us think you're sitting on the wrong side."

Tyler set the tone with a 13 of his 17 points in the first half. He also finished with 13 rebounds and five blocks.

"Honestly, Bergantino tonight was better than I've ever seen him," Ridgewood coach Gary Anders said. "…I just can't say enough about Tyler. He was a big-timer tonight."

The game grew much bigger than the Bergantinos. With a huge contingent on hand, including many faces from days gone by, the spirit of Nature Coast was a driving force behind the best team in school history.

The Sharks (27-3) took a 5-4 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Nature Coast outscored the Rams 13-2 to end the first, then went on a 17-6 run in the second quarter for a 32-12 lead 1:48 before halftime.

Ridgewood cut the deficit to 13 by halftime, but another 9-0 run to begin the third ended any Ridgewood (26-3) momentum.

Nature Coast got a game-high 18 points from Adam Smith, 16 from Blake Lowman and 11 from Guan Whitsett.

"This is a breakthrough game for (Bergantino), this is a breakthrough game for Nature Coast, it's a breakthrough game for our program," Nature Coast coach Dave Pisarcik said. "The kids are starting to believe, the school's starting to believe."

The end for Ridgewood was crushing.

As the game got out of control a pair of technical fouls were assessed the Rams' top two players, first to Jacob Rauh followed by the ejection Charles Jones, with 4:58 left. Jones led the Rams with 13 points.

The Sharks, who extended their win streak to 16 games, ended the Rams' 26-game home win streak and 21-game unbeaten streak.

"I'm embarrassed for the scene," Anders said. "That's not my cup of tea. …I don't know if people realize it, we went undefeated four years in a row in conference, district and county.

"For these kids to be a part of that, that's good."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (813) 421-3886.

. Up next

Region final

Saturday at 7 p.m.

4A: Nature Coast at

Orlando Oak Ridge

4A boys basketball: Nature Coast conquers Ridgewood on Rams' home court 02/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What Wilson Ramos will mean to the Rays lineup, pitching

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer was stumping for all-star votes for Corey Dickerson during a live interview Wednesday morning on the MLB Network when he lifted the right earpiece on his headset and said, "I hear a buffalo coming."

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (40) waves to the crowd after being presented with the Silver Slugger Award before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
  2. Jameis Winston as 2017 NFL MVP? 66-to-1 odds from Vegas


    Could Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston be an NFL MVP in 2017? It's certainly unlikely, but the sports book at Bovada has opening lines with Winston getting 66-to-1 odds, worse than 22 other players across the league.

    Bucs fans would be very happy if quarterback Jameis WInston can put himself into consideration for the NFL MVP award during the 2017 season.
  3. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players


    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  4. The greatest coaches never to win it all


    As foregone conclusions go, some things are approaching the death-and-taxes stratosphere: summer humidity in Florida, a Kardashian seeking attention, and Mike Martin coming up short in Omaha.

    Florida State coach Mike Martin walks to the mound to talk to pitcher Cole Sands during the second inning of the team's NCAA College World Series baseball game against LSU Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. [AP photo]
  5. Bucs fans ranked 25th in study of NFL teams


    The Bucs and their fans are ranked 25th in an Emory University study of NFL teams' "fan base and branding analysis."

    Bucs fans were on their feet for this fourth-quarter play at home against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in 2015.