Comeback Leads Nature Coast Past Pirates 71-59
Nature Coast used a second half comeback to beat Crystal River by a score of 71-59 Tuesday night to stay atop the 6A-7 district.
Facing what Sharks (5-0,3-0) coach Dave Pisarcik said was their toughest challenge, Nature Coast erased a 12-point deficit midway through the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 28-26.
Having not lost a district game at home since 2008-2009 (1/16/09 vs Springstead), the Sharks railed for their 38th straight home victory against a Pirates (3-3,2-2) team missing leading scorer Caleb Bray (20.2 points per game). “We played well enough to win.
Them not having their best player changes the dynamic.” Pisarcik said. “We’ll take the win at home without their best player. We know he will be back and have to prepare for it the best we can.”
In the second half, the Sharks came out firing on all cylinders led by the length of Jordan Baxter who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“Baxter not playing as a freshman has come a long way. I remember watching him in PE class and saying ‘This kid can play, you’re on the basketball team.’ he’s been with us ever since.” Pisarcik said. “He’s come a long way and he’s realizing if he stays disciplined he is a big part of what we are trying to do.”
Kaine McColley finished with 20 points for Sharks capped off by a 3/4 court buzzer beater to end the third quarter, staking the Sharks to a 48-41 lead.
The fourth quarter saw the Sharks pull away thanks to the strong play of Robert McAfee who finished with 11 points, four rebounds and a steal while going 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
“McAfee didn’t start off well this season. He had a great summer, and I knew coming into this season he would have an opportunity to play.” Pisarcik said. “He struggled and we pulled him aside and told him we need that kid from summer and since then he’s had two back-to-back good games. If he goes, he’s an extra threat and it helps us out.”
Xavier Francois led Crystal River 15 points, five rebounds and two steals. Josh Cole added 12 points and five assists, while Tyler Pollard scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
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