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Pasco coach gets win No. 300

Win No. 300 came just like the 299 before.

Pasco coach Willie Broner, whether up by two or 20, was his usual animated self on the bench; waving his arms, screaming plays across the court, moving players around, cajoling his team to work hard every minute of the game.

The Pirates played like Broner's previous 17 teams; snatching rebounds, picking passes off in midair, fastbreaking up and down the court, gliding in for basket after basket.

As the final seconds ticked off on Pasco's 71-53 win over Tarpon Springs on Tuesday night, though, this victory finally started to look as special as it was.

Pasco's varsity and junior varsity players mobbed Broner on the bench, jumping up and down and trapping the coach in their own celebratory mosh pit, chanting: "300! 300! 300!"

Broner, in his 18th year on the job, had his 300th varsity win.

"It's good to get 300," Broner said.

"It's good for the school, too. I really don't know what to say."

Forward Brian Tomlin knew.

"It feels good knowing we did this for coach," he said. "Going 26-3 last season and then winning coach's No. 300, you can't get much better than that.

"The only thing better would be the final four."

The Pirates dominated the contest from start to finish, turning an eight-point halftime lead into as much as a 21-point advantage in the fourth quarter.

Defense and free-throw shooting were Pasco strengths as the Pirates sank 22-of-33 at the line. Tarpon Springs was just 6-of-13 at the line.

Brian Tomlin and Eric Southward combined for 38 points. Southward sank 5 of 6 free throws in the second half. Joe Bain chipped in 17.

Tomlin said afterward that the Pirates didn't even have to talk about getting Broner his 300th win.

"It wasn't something we talked about," he said.

"We just knew we had to go out and do it."

Broner said it didn't matter if this was win No. 1 or 300. He can never relax on the bench during a game.

"Some teams when they're up by a lot, they just start running up and down the court," Broner said. "But I've got to coach thinking ahead to the next game."

Broner's 300th win may as well have been No. 301. Because Class 4A, District 6 foes Pasco (12-10, 9-1 in 4A-6) and Tarpon Springs (2-16, 2-6) only play each other once this season, Tuesday's win counts as two games in the district standings and toward determining the seeds in the district tourney.

Said Broner: "That's the most important thing."

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