The Mainland girls basketball team beat Pine Ridge Tuesday night to set up a playoff matchup with top-seeded Edgewater Thursday.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Confidence can do a lot to get a team going in the right direction.
And that’s just what Mainland girls basketball coach Terry Anthony attributed to his team’s 50-37 win over Pine Ridge Tuesday, in the play-in game of the Class 6A, District 8 playoffs.
“We play with confidence when we’re making shots,” Anthony said. “The last couple of games, we’ve made some shots, except for the Atlantic game. … And it gives the girls confidence.”
Against Atlantic, Saturday, Jan. 26, Mainland scored just 19 points and lost by 57.
Mainland and Pine Ridge split in the regular season, with the home team winning each game.
The Buccaneers led by three after the first quarter and by 12 at halftime, thanks, in part, to Anthony calling on his team to play a more aggressive, press defense, which forced turnovers and tacked on offensive possessions.
It was players like Sabrina Blue and Zyrina Mincey who forced the Panthers into turnovers.
But the biggest beneficiary of turnovers was Qua’shawnna Rone, who led all scorers with 18 points, many of which came in transition, which is where Anthony said she plays her best.
“For the last couple years, our defense has been our offense,” Anthony said. “It really sputtered a lot this year. We haven’t had a great year, but any time we have a good defensive game, we’ve played well (as a whole). I think we were on tonight.”
The Buccaneers pushed their lead to 14 points after the third quarter, and ended the night with a 13-point win. Sada Rowley scored seven points and Franchesia Brooks hit two three-point shots to score six.
Up next for Mainland is top-seeded Edgewater, from Orlando, a team that beat Mainland twice this season, each game by more than 50 points.
“They are phenomenal,” Anthony said. “They pressure you the entire game. They have long girls. They have athletic girls.
“We’re going to show up Thursday and do our best and, hopefully, we can stay in the game a little bit and not get blown out too bad.”
Mainland and Edgewater play 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at Seabreeze High School, the host school for the district playoffs, before Seabreeze plays Deltona at 7:30 p.m.
“I think we’ve built a little confidence,” Anthony said. “Not just by this game, but by our last home game, our senior night, our young ladies were able to get a win then.
“We had a little bump in the road Saturday, against Atlantic, another great team, but I think we can go into this game, and who knows what can happen? We’re just going to show up and do our best.”