Mainland earned its first district title since 2008 with dominating victories in the district tournament.
The Mainland girls basketball team ran away with the District 4-5A championship after back-to-back district tournament wins Feb. 2 and Feb. 4 at the Vince Carter Athletic Center.
The Bucs (13-9) beat Seabreeze 62-12 in the semifinals and then toppled Deltona 57-29 in the final to win their first district title since 2008 and advance to the regional quarterfinals where they will host Panama City Arnold (20-3) on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Seabreeze beat Matanzas 39-36 to move on to the district semifinals against the Bucs. The Sandcrabs finished the season with a 10-12 record. Mainland center Hailee Brennen and forward Lauren Stewart led Mainland with 11 points apiece, while Seabreeze guard Sarah Randolph scored a team-high seven points.
Seabreeze shooting guard Mckenna Mangus has played basketball her “whole life.” She will be graduating this year and said she walked away from her last game knowing she gave it her all on the court.
“I tried to do whatever I could because it was my last game,” she said. “I wanted to go out with a bang, but I knew Mainland was going to be tough. I’m sad to leave my teammates but off to better adventures now. I wish them the best luck.”
“I try to tell the girls that it’s Mainland versus Mainland. Not disrespecting any other team but understanding that we have to look in the mirror and play our game.”
BRANDON STEWART, Mainland girls basketball coach
Prior to Deltona's 37-31 win against Menendez in the other semifinal, Mainland point guard Tia Dobson commented on the potential outcome.
“It doesn’t really matter who we end up playing,” she said. “We are going to be district champs.”
Mainland head coach Brandon Stewart stressed to his team to focus on Mainland, what they do well and not be worried about the team they would be playing.
“I try to tell the girls that it’s Mainland versus Mainland,” he said. “Not disrespecting any other team but understanding that we have to look in the mirror and play our game.”