WESLEY CHAPEL — A third straight trip to a district final finally paid off for Wesley Chapel, which handily defeated Anclote 65-46 Saturday for the boys Class 5A, District 8 crown.
The Wildcats, runnersup each of the past two seasons, claimed their first district title in seven years.
"We've just got a ton of experience, and it really shows," Wesley Chapel coach Doug Greseth said.
The Wildcats (24-4) advance to the region quarterfinals on Thursday and host Eustis, while Anclote (17-9) will make its playoff debut at Nature Coast.
As has been the case all season, Erik Thomas led the Wildcats with 25 points and seven rebounds. The senior, who earlier this season surpassed the 2,000-point mark for his high school career, was thrilled to be part of his first district championship team.
"It feels great," Thomas said. "This is the third year we've been in the championship and we pulled it off. We're part of history now."
So too are the Sharks, who had advanced to the second round of a district tournament on three previous occasions before winning a district semifinal on Friday, 53-30 over Hudson.
Carson Emery also had a productive game for Wesley Chapel, contributing 15 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers to stave off a late run by Anclote.
The Sharks were led by the Carter brothers with Ty scoring 14 points and Shy adding 10.