BROOKSVILLE — For seven years and 42 games, Nature Coast was untouchable in Hernando County competition. That all changed Wednesday night at Central.
The Sharks, who had never faced so much as a double-digit deficit to a county rival, were overwhelmed by Central on the road 58-39.
"We psych ourselves out every time we have to play (Nature Coast)," Central coach Penny Gressick said. "I told the girls that we'd have the opportunities tonight."
Central (7-2) controlled the boards from start to finish,. At halftime, the Bears led 35-18 thanks in large part to a 24-13 rebounding edge. By game's end, those numbers stretched to 48-22.
"They were just amazing on the glass," Nature Coast coach Travis Lamle said. "(The streak) was a great accomplishment, but it was bound to end sometime."
The duo of Raqurra Ishmar (17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists) and Tikiera Relaford (13 points, 19 rebounds, four steals) was able to handle any player under the basket and in the post that Nature Coast (7-2) had. With nearly a double double each going into the locker room, Ishmar and Relaford led the way for the Bears throughout the game on both ends of the floor.
The Sharks, who usually defeat opponents with a fast-paced attack and pressure defense, were undone in part because of opposing point guard McKenzie Burns. Burns (11 points, eight rebounds, two assists) pushed the ball all game, sometimes frantically, forcing multiple turnovers from Nature Coast.
Jen Marshall (16 points, three steals), a former starter coming off the bench again, was the lone Shark to crack double figures in scoring.