'He's the heart and soul of this progam': Bulldogs beat Mandarin despite Bevacqua missing third game with suspension
If you were to have peered across the court during the Bulldogs’ girls basketball team’s game against Mandarin on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 9, you would have noticed two things.
One: the Bulldogs’ premier forward, Skye Green, holding her right leg after falling on it hard in the first quarter.
Bevacqua received two technical fouls in the final seconds of Flagler Palm Coast’s 53-49 loss to Holy Cross during a holiday tournament on Dec. 27. As a result, Bevacqua was suspended for the Bulldogs’ 2018 opener and is currently in the midst of an appeal process to get back with the team.
There is currently no timetable for his return, according to assistant coach Eric Guerrero, who served as Bevacqua’s replacement for the past three games, including in FPC’s 63-11 win over Mandarin on Tuesday night at FPC High School.
Guerrero, who has been an assistant for the Bulldogs for almost six years, said the shift to interim head coach doesn’t feel too different than his usual role with the team.
“It doesn’t feel different for me because I’ve been under Javier for so long,” he said. “He groomed me. He mentored me a lot. These girls listen, too, so it hasn’t been hard to adjust.”
While Mandarin was overmatched, the Bulldogs still played with poise, something that was largely missing during the latter half of December, in which FPC dropped three games in a row for only the second time under Bevacqua.
Guerrero said the team had hit a wall prior to facing Mandarin.
“It was just not being in sync with each other,” he said. “We weren’t really finishing around the rim. We weren’t really finishing our assignments. The girls were just kind of losing focus.”
However, the Bulldogs appeared to regain focus in their rout of Mandarin. They passed, they defended, they rebounded and, most importantly, they made shots — a lot of them.
Green led with a game-high 20 points, while junior guard Dyman Howard scored 13 points and sophomore guard Brianna Ellis chipped in 12 points.
“It’s just always the little things we have to do right,” Green said. “We can run plays, but it’s the little things that need tweaking because it’s the little things that can win us or lose us a game. There’s always something more that we can do.”
Whether FPC is truly back on track remains to be seen. However, going forward into the season, the Bulldogs hope to have their beloved head coach back as soon as possible.
“He’s the heart and soul of this program,” Guerrero said. “He built it from scratch. He’s made history here. We need him back.”