Sears scored a game-high 31 points.
The Buccaneers’ face-off with rival Spruce Creek was a close contest for much of the game — until late in the third quarter.
With about 25 seconds left in the period, the Buccaneers’ Jordan Sears stole an errant Hawks pass near mid-court. There was no one between him and the hoop.
The decision on what to do next was an easy one.
“I knew I was going to dunk it the whole way,” Sears said. “That was my mindset the whole time.”
The 5-foot-11 senior guard rocketed off the floor and slammed the ball through the hoop. It was the second in-game dunk of his high school career and a play that gave the Buccaneers 64-53 lead.
The Buccaneers never took a step back in the fourth quarter. Mainland defeated rival Spruce Creek 94-77 the night of Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Mainland High School. Sears scored a game-high 31 points, connecting on 12-of-17 from the field, including three 3-pointers.
“Before the game started, he told me ‘Coach, I feel like I can’t miss,’” Mainland head coach Joe Giddens said. “I let him play. I just let the guys play. If they feel it, I let them go.”
The game, much like the two teams’ meeting on Jan. 9, was chippy and passionate from the start. The Hawks’ coach, David Howard Sr., was Giddens’ former mentor. Wednesday night marked the seventh time in a row Mainland has defeated a team coached by Howard, who was at Atlantic prior to Spruce Creek.
“Anytime you play a crosstown rival, it’s always going to be intense. You’re going to play hard,” Giddens said. “I think it’s getting us ready. We’re moving in the right direction.”
The postseason is almost here, and the Buccaneers have only one thing on their minds.
“We’re going to have the same mindset that we had going into this game,” said senior guard Taron Keith, who scored 14 points against the Hawks. “Kill.”
“It’s not a rivalry anymore. It’s gotten too easy.”