Also in the Observer: Lady Sandcrabs win district title
For the entire game, the Mainland boys basketball team was pushed by the Pirates.
The Buccaneers led from the opening tip, scoring the first five points of the game. They never trailed, but the Pirates were always within striking distance. The Buccaneers' biggest lead came in the fourth quarter, where they led 38-29 with 5:30 remaining. Then, the Pirates went on a run, cutting the gap to two points by the 2:25 mark.
Although Buccaneers guard Rodney Rhoden sank two free throws to increase Mainland's lead to four points in the closing minute, it was the play of guard Da'von Robinson that sealed the win for Mainland.
After swishing his first free throw to give the Buccaneers a 41-36 lead with 40.3 seconds left in the game, Robinson's second free throw clanked off the rim. He, the shooter, was the first person to reach the rebound.
The Buccaneers took down the Pirates 43-36 on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Matanzas High School behind a strong defensive effort. Joe Jackson led the Buccaneers with 13 points. Kendall King chipped in 11 points of his own.
"Matanzas, they've been playing well," Mainland coach Joe Giddens said. "It was a good game for us going into districts."
Giddens said he used Tuesday night as an opportunity to give his bench players meaningful playing time. He put his starters in to close out the game.
"We needed that high-pressure, in-game situation heading into districts," he said.
Lady Sandcrabs win district title, lose in opening round of playoffs
In addition to the boys team’s district championship, the Lady Sandcrabs captured a district title of their own. Seabreeze defeated Pine Ridge 3-1 on Jan. 26.
Kaitlyn Ott, Abby Gabriel and Alauna Neely each scored goals. The Sandcrabs led 1-0 after the first half and scored two goals in the second half to power past the Panthers.
However, the Sandcrabs lost in the opening round of the state playoffs to Eastside 4-1 on Feb. 6 at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. The Sandcrabs finished the season with a 16-6-1 record.