Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boys basketball: Nature Coast dispatches tough district foe

WESLEY CHAPEL — If Friday night's Class 5A, District 7 showdown with Wesley Chapel is any indication of what's to come from Nature Coast, one thing is certain: the Sharks don't back down when tribulation strikes.

Despite never trailing in the game, NCT (7-0, 5-0) — which was without 6-foot-5 power forward Rohan Blackwood due to illness — had to fight off a late run by the host Wildcats after blowing a 12-point lead. But the Sharks survived for a 47-43 victory, securing sole possession of first place in the district.

"Anytime you're playing a good team like Wesley Chapel, no lead is really safe," NCT coach David Piscarik said with a smile.

With 2:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, Wesley Chapel (8-1, 4-1) tied the score at 41 after a steal and layup by Riyan McCrary, which capped a 14-3 run that was spearheaded by Marcus Hayne's team-high 15 points. But the Sharks weren't about to let the game slip out of their hands.

On the ensuring possession, senior Jordan Burkes grabbed a rebound and quickly dribbled up the court to find a waiting Carlos Clemente on the right side of the arc. With one heave, Clemente (10 points, 11 rebounds) drained the long 3-pointer to give NCT the lead for good.

"I just wanted to push it so we didn't have to beat the team down the court," said Burkes, who hit three free throws inside the final minute. "I saw Carlos down in the corner, and that's our best shooter. So I gave it to him and he knocked it down."

Both teams came into the contest averaging more than 60 points per game, but there was little scoring early thanks to multiple turnovers and missed shots.

NCT began to hit its stride from the floor in the second quarter, though, after a 3-pointer by Burkes to open the period and multiple transition baskets to set the tone offensively for the remainder of the game.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Piscarik said. "We've got to play them again at our place and we've got to play them probably in districts. …We know it's not going to be easy, but we're up for the challenge."

AATL falls in OT thriller

LAND O'LAKES — As Cambridge Christian trailed rival Academy at the Lakes after three quarters, the young Lancers seemed to drag their feet.

Then they started hitting free throws and woke up.

The Lancers pulled ahead in the second overtime to win 76-73 and replace the Wildcats at the top of the Class 2A, District 7 standings.

"This group is new at playing together," Cambridge coach Jay Bowen said. "They're young."

During a series of timeouts late in the fourth, the coach repeatedly told the Lancers to keep their composure. It worked.

"They didn't get down when they were down," Bowen said.

The Lancers were behind by five when the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

With 4:14 left in the fourth, Cambridge Christian's Caleb Young hit a 3, pulling his team ahead, 47-44, for the first time.

The rest of the quarter was a tense, back-and-forth affair with several series of free throws that had fans on their feet. Academy at the Lakes' Ethan Haslam sank a layup with 51.8 seconds remaining, tying the score at 52.

The first overtime didn't settle matters. Haslam and the Lancers' Garrett Young sank shots that kept the score close. The players prepared for a second overtime with the score tied at 61.

Cambridge Christian pulled ahead on free throws, but a layup by Haslam gave the Wildcats their last lead of the game, 66-65.

With 1:16 remaining, the Lancers led by five points. They held onto the ball and paced as long as they could. The Wildcats' Kalique Jones hit a 3 with less than 30 seconds left, drawing fans to their feet again, but the team couldn't catch up.

Young finished with 32 points and Haslam had 36.

Bowen praised AATL as a strong rival. "I don't see how we beat them tonight," he said. "They're a great group."

Mary Kenney, Times staff writer

Boys basketball: Nature Coast dispatches tough district foe 12/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]