LARGO — The area under the basket is a confined space where tall guys collide.
It doesn't seem like the place Breon Bostic would thrive. But the Largo forward is a post-modern postman. Though he is only 6 feet 3, Bostic uses his skill and savvy in the middle to help his team score down low.
"Of course I'd like to be 2 or 3 inches taller," Bostic said. "I'm at a little disadvantage because of my height. But I play hard to make up for it."
That doesn't mean Bostic always has his back to the basket. Largo coach Phil Price likes to have his players moving around. But whenever Price needs points in the paint, he calls on Bostic, who has become his best scoring option.
"Breon is our strongest player and can do a lot of things," Price said. "We knew he would be the guy that could dominate in the middle."
Because he is the 14-3 Packers' best post-up player, Bostic was asked to play around the basket at times against Pinellas Park last week. It was a challenge considering the Patriots have one of the tallest frontcourts in the county, led by 6-6 Colton Jacobs.
Bostic did his best to dodge the knees, elbows and forearms in his path. He scored a team-high 24 in three quarters of a 75-74 loss.
Bostic, a junior who played football two years ago, often resorts to his skills in that sport to thrive in the paint.
Using his raw ability, he is an imposing threat who can lay waste to any unfortunate opponent who wanders into his path.
"Breon actually likes the banging," Price said. "Sometimes he spins into a guy just so he can make contact."
Playing within a confined space that becomes all the more crowded because of his size, or lack thereof, Bostic instead relies on his strength, nimble-footed quickness and soft hands, making it extremely difficult for even the best defenders to prevent him from getting the ball down low.
"I sometimes play with a football mentality," Bostic said. "I like the contact and just try to play hard. I don't know if I would play the same way if I was a couple of inches taller."
Bostic has had a breakout season, averaging a team-high 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Three others — Pat Kearney (15.6 points), D.J. McNeil (9.9) and Kevin McKellar (9.9) — are averaging double figures or close to it.
"We have guys that can score and we can shoot well," Price said. "But Breon has been the guy that's been big for us."