BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
If the third time isn’t a charm, the season will be over for the Seabreeze boys basketball team.
It’s been a “disaster” season to this point, said head coach Mike Dye, after the team lost several players, including team leader Alex Loyd, to injuries, and two others who quit.
Dye is critical of his players, saying he hasn’t seen a leader step forward, or his team play many complete games.
But all that can change Feb. 6, when the Sandcrabs play Pine Ridge for the third time this season — this time, in the district playoffs.
The Sandcrabs enter the Class 6A, District 8 playoffs as the 5 Seed, the lowest seeded team in the district.
It won’t be an easy road to redemption for the Sandcrabs. First, they’ll have to upset Pine Ridge, who they've lost to twice, by a combined eight points, in the regular season.
“I think we probably have one of the highest grade point averages around, but we try to do too much,” Dye said. “We have played really well with Pine Ridge, but it boils down to our turnover ratio and free-throw shooting.
“We’ve had our opportunities, we can thank God for that, but we just haven't come through in games.”
If Seabreeze beats Pine Ridge, things will only get more difficult. Up next would be Edgewater, the top-seeded team in the district playoffs.
But there is one advantage for the Sandcrabs. Every game in the district playoffs, whether it involves the Sandcrabs or not, will be played at Seabreeze, and Dye is sure to take any advantage he can get.
With all the injuries, Dye said he’s had to turn to younger players, who have played well, for more minutes than he would normally allow.
And those young players, as well as some older ones, Dye said, have been trying to do more than they’re capable of, forcing shots and passes.
With the regular season ending Jan. 29, Seabreeze will have a week to prepare for Pine Ridge.
The team will have a week to find a way to play within themselves, limit turnovers and come through with the biggest win of the season, proving Dye’s evaluation of the season as premature.