By MEL SUITER
The holiday of Thanksgiving, it is a time to reflect and give acknowledgement to your accomplishment. For Nature Coast Tech High School girls’ basketball coach Emily Gore, she was thankful Tuesday night, November 26, to leave River Ridge High School for the victory.
Gore watched her team put together one good quarter and was able to officially start the holiday season with a unattractive 41-34, victory over the Royal Knights.
Maybe it was the holiday break, perhaps it is because the Sharks are a young team with only one senior on the team, or maybe it is early in the 2019 state of Florida high school girls basketball season but the only thing beautiful about this game for Gore and for the Sharks fans that made the trip to enjoy-was the final score.
Both teams can be described as a young scrappy team, players with heart and were not afraid to get onto the court and fight to obtain control of the basketball.
Nature Coast Tech High School had trouble for most of the game trying to break the River Ridge High School full court press that was unleashed midway in the first quarter.
The press worked for the Royal Knights as ball security for the Sharks became a concern. Starting the game, the offense for the Sharks average 42.3 points a game and averaged 15 turnovers.
As Gore watched from her seat on the bench, she witnessed her team failing to communicate with each other out on the court to beat the press, out of control offense and no rebounds.
It is the responsibility of team mates to talk to each other on the court to help, especially when a ball player trying to navigate through the defense. It didn’t help the Sharks offense, that no player would come back and help move the ball through the press.
Under the boards and in the paint area, the Royal Knights were out hustling the Sharks for rebounds on both sides of the court. They were boxing out and in position to grab the ball and start a transition break going the other direction.
River Ridge High School girls’ basketball coach Joeyn Dearsman was pleased with the effort by her squads’ determination under the boards against a much larger team than the Royal Knights.
Dearsman was happy with the effort of her defense that caused the Sharks so much trouble on the court.
What Dearsman not happy with was with her team’s inability to get good looks at the basket and unable to convert the turnovers created by her defense into baskets.
During the game, both teams struggled with putting the basketball through the hoop in the first half and when the horn went off at the end of the first half. River Ridge High School went inside the locker room leading the Sharks by one point.
It was more of the same type of basketball on display at the start of the second half. More sloppy passes, more players diving on the floor grabbing for loose balls and more of the press hindering the Sharks inability to find any offense rhythm.
Midway in the third quarter, Nature Coast Tech sophomore center Heavan Lee and freshman Gabriellia Lee started to work together and suddenly there were holes developing in the full court press being used by the Royal Knights.
With the 2-3 zone defense for the Sharks finally wore down the Royal Knights and the River Ridge offense started to create offense turnovers.
G. Lee was able to gain control of the ball by getting into the passing lane and stealing the and sprint down the court to score a lay up basket for the Sharks.
H. Lee started to dominate both under the offense and defense boards and was able to work some magic in the paint area for her team and grab rebounds.
In the fourth quarter the Sharks offense scored 12 points and that was just enough to keep away the Royal Knights and earning their third win of the young season.
The next game for the Sharks will be another road trip. Nature Coast Tech High School will travel north on US- 41 to the city of Inverness to face Citrus High School, Tuesday night Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Gore and the Sharks girls’ basketball fans will be required to use a lot of patent with this young team. On this Thanksgiving Day, the one thing Gore is thankful for getting started the season with three wins.
Gore and the Nature Coast Tech High School basketball fans are thankful, that there is no such thing as an ugly win but this victory-was pretty close!