Brooksville, Fla.– The environment in the gym at Nature Coast Tech seemed different on Tuesday night. It may have been a sense of confidence or a sense of accomplishment; overall it was different.
The sharks five starters: Alysia Graham, Meryah Delaine, Dakota Danna, Kendyl Helfand, and Heaven Lee played their home court during the first half as a well-organized team. Plays, teamwork, communication were all there.
“I felt like they figured that out on Senior Night, they came together. I thought they played really well together and carried over to last night,” said Nature Coast Tech girls basketball coach Emily Gore. “So, tonight, we can do the same things against Tarpon.”
For the past three years, the Sharks couldn’t go beyond district tournaments when facing Crystal River High School, and now with the district realignment, new district contenders are ahead.
“It was definitely good to be in a new district, and just to see new opponents that you haven’t really dealt with over the last four years, I was ready for a change,” Gore said.
Overall the girl’s season has not been without challenges. After losing a key player in the middle of the season, the team had to adjust.
“I would have loved to have seen what our team could have done if we kept her. The second half since Christmas has been somewhat of a struggle, figuring out how to play together and score after losing her,” Gore said. “We are getting there, but it just comes down to can you do good things against a really good team. We did great things against Hudson last night, but we have to do it against Tarpon tonight.”
Tarpon’s at 12-8 for the season with a powerful senior, Anabel Ellison, who has averaged 25 points per game and racked up 499 points this season, according to the stats posted on MaxPreps. As for the Sharks: sophomore Heaven Lee and freshman Gabriella Lee are averaging 28 points per game combined, and Meryah Delaine is taking opportunities to put in 3 pointers.
“I told the girls, if we were able to advance to a district championship round and play in that game, that would be our team being successful,” said Gore.
The girls beat Hudson 53-16 to advance to compete in the semi-finals against Tarpon Springs. The game takes place tonight (Feb. 5, 2020) at Anclote High School. Tip-off is at 8:30 pm.