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Boys basketball: Nature Coast bounces back in overtime

By DEREK J. LaRIVIERE
Published January 9, 2008


BROOKSVILLE - Close calls have become a familiar theme for the Nature Coast boys this season, and that scenario almost came back to haunt the Sharks again Tuesday night.

Playing at home against Zephyrhills, Nature Coast needed overtime to squeak by the Bulldogs with a 55-53 win.

The Class 4A, District 6 game was important for Nature Coast (12-5), which dropped a heartbreaker to Zephyrhills (9-6) earlier in the season.

"They are a well-coached team," Nature Coast coach Dave Picarsik said. "They came through with big shots in the end to beat us at their place last time."

After dominating the Bulldogs from the start, the Sharks surrendered the lead for the first time with only 2:54 remaining in regulation. Zephyrhills grabbed the lead away with a 3-pointer by Scott Patria.

Patria led the Bulldogs with 17 points, including three shots from beyond the arc. Joining Patria as a star for the Bulldogs was center Tyler Guy, who had 11 points and nine rebounds.

But no bucket was bigger than the defining shot of the contest.

Down 48-45, Zephyrhills was set to inbound the ball after a timeout, but the stout Nature Coast defense disrupted the set enough to put the ball in Guy's hands more than 40 feet from the basket.

Heaving a desperation shot at the buzzer, he swished the ball to send the game into overtime.

"The shot was so surprising that my marker almost hit the ceiling," Picarsik said, "but I am very happy with how my team responded in overtime."

Nature Coast stars Mike Adams (17 points) and Joe Sylvestri (19 points) took over in overtime.

Adams opened the extra period with a 3-pointer to put the Sharks up, and Sylvestri added the other four points on free throws.