Article and Photography by Alice Mary Herden
It has been a tradition for Nature Coast Technical’s basketball coach David Pisarcik to organize and host the annual Christmas Tournament and 2021 marks their 9th year. “We love basketball, we love this type of environment, and we love to see good teams battle. I think what attracts everyone to this tournament is seeing the type of teams we bring in. I think they like to see the competition. If you are a good team in the area, you want to be able to play against the best – you want to be challenged,” Pisarcik said.
With an 18 team bracket, 17 teams from around the state of Florida, and one from Ohio. Brecksville – Broadview Heights High School in Ohio traveled 1128 miles to participate in this event. For them the trip was well worth it, as they sealed the championship with a win over Zephyrhills Bulldogs 73-51.
The primary purpose of any of these tournaments is to see the diversity of talent on the court. To view the game’s structure and the strategic playing components in a new perspective and, of course, the spirit of competition. “You can see different teams, how they play and how they win. Everyone learns from each other. It’s a team effort. We are happy with it, happy where it’s at, and we are happy where it’s going,” Pisarcik said.
Monday, December 27
Brecksville (Ohio) 85 vs Land O’ Lakes 68
Evangelical Christian 48 vs Plant City 68
Zephyrhills 87 vs Jefferson 41
Merritt Island 26 vs Sickles 53
Wiregrass 58 vs Bloomingdale 53
Sunlake 43 vs Nature Coast Tech 65
Sebring 82 vs Fivay 78
Ferguson 72 vs George Jenkins 70
Tuesday, December 28
Land O’ Lakes 55 vs Evangelical Christian 58
Jefferson 55 vs Sunlake 67
Brecksville 57 vs Plant City 55
Zephyrhills 61 vs Nature Coast Tech 43
Bloomingdale 56 vs Fivay 40
Merritt Island 52 vs George Jenkins 61
Wiregrass 104 vs Sebring 95
Sickles 73 vs Ferguson 54
Wednesday, December 29
Land O’ Lakes 60 vs Jefferson 31
Evangelical Christian 86 vs Sunlake 62
Plant City 57 vs Nature Coast Tech 33
Zephyrhills 51 vs Brecksville 73
Fivay 51 vs Merritt Island 52
Bloomingdale 41 vs George Jenkins 30
Sebring 79 vs Ferguson 72
Wiregrass 70 vs Sickles 79
Ending the holiday season basketball tournaments was Hernando’s one-day shootout held on December 31st. Not all teams will have a winning season and what is great about having these tournaments is the consistency of game time, as well as the interaction with a diversity of court skills.
Hernando’s Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Travis Bruns organized the tournament based on a simplified objective: Matching the competition based on a team’s current season records. “I wanted everyone to have that opportunity to win, and to make it as even as possible,” Bruns said.
Game one: Brandon Academy at 3 wins – 6 losses vs Crystal River at 3 wins – 5 losses
Crystal River took the win.
Game two: Bloomingdale at 9 wins – 3 losses vs Dunnellon at 9 wins – 4 losses
Bloomingdale took the win.
Game three: Gulf at 2 wins – 11 losses vs Hernando at 1 win – 8 losses
Hernando took the win.
For Bruns, the win for the team set into motion that much-needed movement and discipline on the court. “We are getting there. We got a lot of work to do to get caught up game-wise because that’s what a lot of our guys are missing. Hopefully, we can change that and finish the second half of the season on a positive note,” said Bruns.
These holiday tournaments showcased the athletic abilities and court competitiveness of the student-athletes. Tournaments like these continue to display the diversity of teams and how they utilize plays in their offensive and defensive zones. Each team, player, and coach has the best opportunity to learn and implement new strategies to implement in the second half of the basketball season.