TAMPA — Riverview came into Tuesday night’s Class 9A, District 6 semifinal with a 16-9 overall record and 0-6 district record through the regular season.
But Alonso coach Todd Price — whose team came in at 21-4 overall with a 6-0 district record — was more than a little concerned.
“I was very concerned,” Price said. “I knew Riverview was good. Very good.”
Price was right.
Yes, Alonso pulled out a 56-50 victory, but the Sharks gave the Ravens just about everything they could handle.
Alonso’s lead, for instance, never got to more than seven points and Riverview actually held the lead, 48-45, with a little more than three minutes remaining.
But through it all Alonso, which has won multiple tight games this season, never blinked.
“In practice we go over every possible situation,” said Alonso senior Sager Cavalier, who led all scorers with 14 points. “We feel prepared for everything at any moment. We knew this was going to be a close game and we prepared for that.”
With just under three minutes remaining, Alonso went ahead 49-48 and never gave up that lead the rest of the way.
As has been the case with this group of Ravens the past two years, in which they have combined for a 43-11 record, Tuesday night was another complete team effort, which showed up in the individual scoring numbers: Right behind Cavalier were DJ Gooden with 13 points, followed by Kamalii Findlay with 10, Terrionce Blalock with eight and Antonio Leslie with six.
The victory gives the Ravens a school-record 22 victories for a season and more importantly propels them into Friday night’s district final against Sarasota Riverview, which defeated Newsome 57-55 in the other semifinal Tuesday night.
“We know that also will be a tough game,” Price said. “We may have only four teams in our district but all four of those teams are tough. … Outside of our district (Sarasota) Riverview had a 16-3 record. I think that says something.”