Buccaneers guard Jordan Sears scored a team-high 19 points.
With about 6 minutes left in regulation, Spruce Creek’s Anthony Fonseca knifed through Mainland’s defense and banked in a layup to tie the game at 52. The crowd that was packed into the gym at Spruce Creek High School roared.
But the Buccaneers responded.
Mainland senior guard Jordan Sears, the team’s leading scorer, dribbled the ball up the court. He manipulated a screen and rose for a pull-up midrange jump shot to help the Buccaneers regain the lead.
"We were battle-tested early. Those kind of games got us prepared for this.”
JOE GIDDENS, Mainland coach
As he ran back on defense, Sears put a finger to his slips and shushed the rowdy crowd.
“It’s fun to be in a game like this,” he said. “I live for this.”
Despite a game-high 21 points from Hawks guard Max Oles, the Buccaneers defeated Spruce Creek 66-63 the night of Thursday, Jan. 9.
Four Buccaneers players scored in double figures on Thursday night. Dontrell Thompson scored 10 points, Kenny Witherspoon scored 11 points and Taron Keith scored 14 points. Sears led Mainland with 19 points on 8-for-20 from the field.
Sears, who went 3-for-7 from the free throw line, struggled at certain points throughout the game. But he kept grinding — even going back and forth with the Hawks’ Oles.
“I just stuck to my roots,” he said. “I kept playing my game. I just let my game come to me when the game started getting into crunch time.”
In addition, for the past several seasons Mainland’s primary rival in Volusia County has been Atlantic High School. However, since former Sharks head coach David Howard’s move to Spruce Creek, the Hawks are the new challenge.
“We played against tough teams all the time, so we don’t ever back down from pressure,” Keith said. “This is what we want.”