Preps Recap: Patriots turn Bobcats into speed bump
Run date: 11/25 in Charlotte Sun
CAPE CORAL — The Plantation American Heritage High School boys basketball team might want to consider trying out for the track team come spring.
After all, the Patriots proved they could run and jump Saturday night.
American Heritage used its high-tempo offense and tight defense to run away with an 87-49 victory over North Port High School on Day 2 of the Turkey Shootout at Island Coast High School.
Seven Patriots had at least eight points, led by sophomores Keshawn Evans and Josh Borders who had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“We kind of ran into a buzz saw today,” North Port coach Curt Allen said. “We turned it over early, and once we showed any sign of weakness passing the ball,
the kind of went to a new level.”
Right from the start, American Heritage, a perennial contender for the state title, created fast break opportunities by getting into North Port’s passing lanes. The result was a 24-10 lead after the first.
The second quarter offered more of the same, and Jeremy Mullings capped the period with a half-court buzzer beater to extend the lead to 54-26. “We weren’t handling the ball well enough to play the way we wanted to play,” Allen said about the pace of the game. “… It forced us to make quick plays, and once we got into a track meet, that was one we were going to lose.”
At the start of the third quarter, North Port (3-1) attempted to control the tempo by slowing down the action, allowing the Bobcats to start picking away at the deficit.
After North Port sophomore Malek Barber picked up a pair of quick fouls — his third and fourth — to force him to the bench, American Heritage resumed forcing turnovers and converting them into fast break points.
“I told him after the game that he was a warrior all weekend but he made some silly fouls,” Allen said of Barber. “He’s going to have to learn.”
Freshman forward Brandon Gonzalez provided one bright spot for North Port. He led the team with 11 points, thanks to his ability to get to the line.
Allen said he thinks the team is right where it should be at this point in the season and has the potential to compete in the district, adding the Bobcats are more of a “hunter, not the hunted” this season.
“I like this group; I like where we can go,” Allen said. “There’s just some areas that we’ve got to definitely get better.”