ST. PETERSBURG — On Tuesday, Carrollwood Day's Owen Mixon twisted his ankle against Cambridge Christian, an injury that will sideline the 6-foot-8 post player through next week.
The timing was not great considering the Patriots faced Admiral Farragut on Friday in a battle for first place in Class 4A, District 4.
But at least the injury happened in the first half against the Lancers, giving Carrollwood Day some time to get acclimated to playing with a smaller lineup.
The new-look Patriots compensated for their height disadvantage by hitting plenty of shots from long range and playing air-tight defense in a 66-63 victory over the Blue Jackets.
"The guys were able to gain some confidence playing small ball together," Carrollwood Day coach Teddy Owens said. "They just battled and battled and battled."
The Patriots (16-2) have won nine straight and are undefeated against district foes. They can clinch the top seed in 4A-4 with a win against Calvary Christian or Northside Christian next week.
Friday was the biggest test for Carrollwood Day.
Admiral Farragut made the playoffs last season and was the favorite to win the district title.
But the Blue Jackets (13-7) were trying to rebound after losing to Calvary Christian earlier in the week. In that game, Admiral Farragut was without two starters who were suspended for a violation of team rules.
For much of Friday, the lead was slim with neither team holding more than a seven-point advantage. The Blue Jackets played most of the second half without Andreas Fuller, a UCF commit and McDonald's All-American Game nominee who was benched.
"(Andreas) wasn't playing well enough to be in the game," Admiral Farragut coach Julian Allen said.
The Blue Jackets had a chance to tie, but a 3-pointer clanked off the rim at the buzzer.
Malcolm Whitlow scored 35 points and Edgar Ziegler had 23 to lead the Patriots. Winston Dessesow had 19 points and Daniel Krueger added 14 for Admiral Farragut.
"Carrollwood just wanted it more," Allen said. "We can be as good as we want to be. If the guys buy in, we can be special. Until then, we're just another team."