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Basketball: Springstead finds rhythm in second half
By DEREK J. LaRIVIERE, Times Correspondent
Published December 5, 2007
SPRING HILL - Without starting point guard Bryan Pent, Nature Coast was not able maintain its momentum at rival Springstead on Tuesday night.
The Sharks looked terrific in the first half, taking a 27-25 lead into the locker room, but it was the Eagles who pulled away for a 65-55 win.
Pent, Nature Coast's second-best outside shooter and floor general, was not on hand for personal reasons, and coach Dave Picarsik was forced into playing an unfamiliar starting lineup in the team's biggest game so far this season.
Nature Coast (2-3) played valiantly behind the shooting and floor leadership of team captain Joe Sylvestri. The senior guard contributed 14 points and six assists, including going 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
"We spent a lot of time in the first half out of position defensively," Springstead coach Pat Kelly said. "Our guys got a little lazy trying to follow (Sylvestri) around all night."
Springstead (5-1) had difficulty finishing around the basket in the first half and had its lowest scoring output at halftime this season. An inspirational speech from Kelly did the job as the Eagles outscored the Sharks 20-7 in the third quarter.
"The difference in the second half was that we got yelled at," Springstead power forward Dominique Roberson said. "Coach really lit a fire under us and made us realize that we need to take advantage of our shot around the bucket."
The trio of stars for Springstead is becoming a familiar theme. Point guard Dante Valentine (15 points), small forward Nehemiah Mason (16) and Roberson (14) played suffocating defense and ran the fastbreak brilliantly.
The three combined for 45 of the team's 65 points, and Valentine and Roberson controlled the glass with 10 boards apiece. Roberson (six assists) and Valentine (five assists) also demonstrated their ability to run the break with crisp passing.
The lead-in game at Springstead was the Nature Coast girls' attempt to go 30-0 against Hernando County opponents in the program's history.
The historic win was handled with ease by the Sharks with senior stars Cherikhan Waddy and Shareka Maner leading the way for a 59-15 rout. Maner scored 17 and had six steals, all in the first half.
Waddy's totals (14 points) also only encompassed the first two quarters as coach Travis Lamle rested his stars. The Sharks forced 27 steals.