In basketball, many teams live and die by the 3-pointer. Matanzas found out the hard way what happens after shooting 12.5% from behind the arc.
The Pirates struggled to convert outside shots Wednesday night, losing to a tough Bartram Trail team, 70-45.
“In the second half, we had a few defensive lapses,” coach Tony Zaksewicz said after the game. “Some of the basic principles we work on, defensively, seemed to break down a little bit.”
Matanzas (4-14, 1-3 District 4-5A) finished the game 3-for-24 from 3-point land.
“We had a hard time keeping up with them offensively,” Zaksewicz said.
Matanzas hung around early, trailing 13-9 after the first quarter. But the Bears went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter and held a 32-22 halftime lead.
There wasn’t much offense for Matanzas in the second half, though.
Bartram Trail (17-2) outscored Matanzas, 38-23, over the final two quarters.
“They got a lot of point-blank baskets off of defensive rotation breakdowns, and we missed a bunch of 3s,” Zaksewicz said. “(When that happens), it’s hard to compete — especially against a real good, real disciplined team like (Bartram).”
Ivan Tsabak finished the game with 15 points and eight rebounds. Lazaro Justize added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Overall, it’s been a disappointing season for the Pirates, Zaksewicz said. The good news is anything can happen come playoff time.
Matanzas competes in District 4-5A — a four-team district comprising Pedro Menendez, Nease, Ponte Vedra and Matanzas.
With two weeks left to play, seeding for the district is still up in the air, and Matanzas still has two district games left against Ponte Vedra and Menendez.
“The district is so wide open right now,” Zaksewicz said. “Everybody seems to be beating up on each other. I don’t think district seeding will be relevant — win one, and you’re in states.”
Matanzas knocked off Nease last week, 70-66, which helped the Pirates stay in contention for a higher seed. As of Wednesday, they were on track to be the No. 4 seed. Even so, Zaksewicz isn’t concerned. He said there’s no team in the district that the other three teams want to avoid.
“At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nos. 3 and 4 play in the title game,” he said.
Zaksewicz said the goal over the final two weeks is to prepare for districts.
“Obviously, the overall record isn’t where we want it to be,” he said. “Let’s just keep getting better, let’s keeping doing the things that we do that are going to allow us to be successful. So hopefully we’re a better team come the beginning of February.”
The district tournament begins Feb. 8.