FPC defeated Matanzas 62-13 the night of Friday, Nov. 22.
The Bulldogs’ girls basketball team was one of the best teams in the area last season. However, despite a 20-4 record, the Bulldogs were bounced from the playoffs after 63-34 loss to Sandalwood in the district semifinals on Feb. 5.
The goal this season? To overcome the challenges of playing in a tough district and make it deep into the state playoffs.
“I’m not sure there’s much we can do differently [to achieve that],” Flagler Palm Coast head coach Javier Bevacqua said. “A lot of it is luck and the ball has to go in the basket at the right time.”
This group — who defeated crosstown rival Matanzas 62-13 the night of Friday, Nov. 22, at FPC High School — is a “tight one,” according to Bevacqua and his players.
“They all care for one another,” he said.
The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Brianna Ellis, who scored a game-high 15 points and recorded 6 assists against the Pirates.
She said she’s become more vocal, more of a leader in her final high school season. But there’s still some things she needs to work on, like being more aggressive and attacking the rim when her jump shot is off.
Regardless, her belief is that there’s very little stopping this team from reaching or exceeding expectations.
“I think we’re capable of doing everything we want to do,” Ellis said. “If we stay patient and execute what the coach wants us to do, then we can go as far as we want to.”
Before the start of Matanzas' clash with FPC, Pirates coach Eric Guerrero and the Bulldogs' head coach embraced. Bevacqua is a longtime friend and mentor of Guerrero — and now, somewhat of a foe.
"Before the game, I told him, 'Good luck,'" Bevacqua joked.
Guerrero graduated from FPC, where he played on the Bulldogs’ boys basketball team, in 2008. And he became an assistant coach on the boys basketball team for a season before joining Bevacqua on the Bulldogs’ girls basketball team in 2011.
The return to his old school was an, expectedly, emotional one.
“There were a lot of emotions, good emotions," he said. "I have good rapport with everyone here. I just want to see them all do well."
Guerrero was hired as the Pirates' head coach in June. The Pirates captured their first win of the season in a 52-4 victory over Calvary Christian on Nov. 21.
“We’re taking it one game at a time," Guerrero said. "We have to stay disciplined.”