The Matanzas Pirates boys basketball team knocked off No. 2-seeded Creeside High School, 54-51, in the first round of the District 4-4A tournament Tuesday, Feb. 8.
The Pirates, fresh off a 65-60 victory over crosstown rival FPC on Friday, headed into the game as the No. 7 seed.
Wendell Powell powered the Pirates with 23 points, while Jalen Hancock added nine, Ivan Tsabak had eight and Jay Jones had five.
The Pirates (14-12) played Creekside on Jan. 28 and suffered a close double overtime defeat, losing 44-43, but the outcome was different Tuesday night.
With the win, the Pirates have now won eight of their last nine games, with the only loss being against Creekside nearly two weeks ago. Creekside came into the game with a 19-5 record and a 10-2 district record.
In the game, the Pirates held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and led by as many as 11 in the fourth.
“Creekside turned up the defensive pressure and slowly chipped away at the lead,” said coach Tony Zaksewicz.
The Knights managed to take a one-point lead with one minute remaining in the game, but Pirates junior Shawn White gave the Pirates the lead via a layup with under a minute to go. The Pirates than grabbed the rebound off a missed Knights shot, but Hancock missed the front of a 1-and-1 free throw situation.
On the next possession, the Pirates continued intense defense and never let Creekside get a shot off, forcing a jump ball with five seconds to go. The Pirates had the possession arrow. Powell got the inbound, was fouled and made both free throws, giving Matanzas a three-point lead. Creekside heaved a desperation half-court 3-pointer as time expired but it was no good.
The Pirates move on to the semifinals and will face Ponte Vedra on Friday, Feb. 11, at Menendez High School. The Pirates lost to Ponte Vedra, 69-59, on Dec. 13.
"They beat us early in the year when we were struggling and still trying to find our identity," Zaksewicz said.
In that game, junior Beau Beech, the son of the Ponte Vedra coach, scored 40 of the Sharks' 69 points.