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While many students were off from school around Flagler County last week, both the Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas boys basketball teams were on the hardwood, competing in the sixth-annual Palm Coast Kiwanis shootout, a Thanksgiving weekend tournament comprising 12 teams.
On Friday, both FPC and Matanzas lost.
The Bulldogs led Coral Springs Christian Academy, 26-23, at halftime, but the Bulldogs couldn’t establish an inside game and went cold from the floor.
CSCA managed to outscore FPC 33-19 in the second half.
Senior guard Tyler Hopkins led FPC in scoring with 13 points, five assists and four steals. Deshawn Barbero tallied 12 points and three boards.
CSCA is one of the top Class 3A teams in the state.
Matanzas also couldn’t hold on to an early lead Friday against Pine Ridge.
The Pirates led 19-7 after the first quarter, but Pine Ridge went on a 19-2 run in the second quarter to take a 26-21 halftime lead en route to a 55-50 win.
Senior Ivan Tsabak led all scorers, with 21.
FPC and Matanzas were able to right their ships on Saturday, though, thanks to more fantastic play from two senior guards: Hopkins and Tsabak.
FPC trailed Gateway (Kissimmee), 13-2, in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs slowly came back and took the lead in the fourth quarter, winning the game 65-63. FPC’s largest lead was three points.
Hopkins again led the Bulldogs with 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. Barbero scored 18 points and dished out seven assists. Dustin Bowens netted 10 points and snatched seven rebounds.
Tsabak notched a double-double on Saturday, leading the Pirates to a 58-55 win over Lake Nona.
It was essentially a one-man show, as Tsabak scored 19 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and six assists.
The Pirates trailed 27-20 at halftime, but big third and fourth quarters cleared the way for the win.
FPC is 3-1 this season, and coach Gary McDaniel said his team is still a few weeks away from finding its rhythm.
A large reason for that, McDaniel said, is because many of the players are still transitioning over from other sports — primarily football.
“We must and will improve on both ends of the court as our team gets on the same page, collectively,” McDaniel said. “It is a growing and learning process that requires a little time and patience, mostly on my part.”
Matanzas coach Tony Zaksewicz said the tournament is a great way to start off the season while enjoying a festive, but competitive, atmosphere.
On Friday, FPC hosts Sandalwood, and Matanzas plays at Lake Mary Prep.