BROOKSVILLE — There were a few early bumps, but Wiregrass Ranch earned a potential top seed in the Class 4A, District 8 tournament.
The Bulls started slowly Tuesday at Nature Coast but were able to pull it together and bounce back for a 59-45 win over the defending district champion.
"With only three games left, this should solidify the No. 1 seed for us," Wiregrass coach Greg Finkel said.
Nature Coast (13-6, 5-1) came out like a ball of fire for what is becoming a budding rivalry. These programs squared off in last season's district championship game and are in position to do the same this season.
The Sharks went up 8-2, with Finkel assessed an early technical for his criticism of the officiating. The biggest lead Nature Coast held was 22-14 midway through the second quarter.
Four minutes before halftime the momentum shifted. Despite being outrebounded much of the game, the Bulls (13-5, 7-0) went on a 6-0 run and trailed only 27-25 at halftime. The Sharks finished with a 34-22 edge on the boards.
"Honestly, we came out real flat in the first half," Finkel said. "I thought we had the advantage going into the locker room though."
Once the second half began, Wiregrass guard Regan Knapik (23 points) began her assault. Knapik, who was averaging only eight points coming into the game, led the program in scoring the past three seasons. She picked up the load when her team needed it, knocking down three 3-pointers as the Bulls stretched the lead.
Nature Coast forward Alyssa Joens (14 points, 11 rebounds) did her best in the post, but the Sharks suffered through foul trouble for much of the second half as Cymone Peterson and Brittany Johnson fouled out.