The Pirates were led by senior guard Darrion Session, who scored 17 points against the Raiders
In the final seconds of Matanzas boys basketball’s season opener against Crescent City on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Pirates’ Damon Warrell approached the free throw line.
Moments earlier, Raiders head coach Al Carter was assessed with two technicals and was ejected from the game. Warrell went to the line for four free throws, as a result.
He swished his first three shots. But as he went through his routine on his final attempt, his own head coach had something to say to him — even though the win was already well secured for the Pirates.
“You know if you miss this free throw, you’re going to be running, right?” Matanzas coach Donald Lockhart said to the sophomore.
Warrell’s shot clanked off the right side of the rim and fell to the court.
His punishment? He’ll have to run double suicides in 54 seconds at the Pirates’ next practice.
“I wanted to see how our kids are going to react under pressure,” Lockhart said after the Pirates’ 59-49 victory over the Raiders at Matanzas High School. “I want to challenge them.”
Except for a first quarter slump that saw the Pirates score 9 points, the Pirates were rarely challenged by Crescent City. Led by the backup unit, Matanzas had a scoring outburst in the second quarter and took a 30-22 halftime lead, which never got closer than 6 for the remainder of the game.
“As long as we step up together as a team, I think we’re going to be great.”
Matanzas coach Donald Lockhart
Phillip Crawford, who played his first high school game on Tuesday night, was nervous to start the game.
“It was fast at the beginning, but I started to get into it,” said the freshman forward, who scored 6 points during the second period scoring outburst. “I started to understand the game, and it slowed down.”
Crawford, who Lockhart called “dynamic,” is one of several young players to step into the limelight for the Pirates, who lost several key players to graduation last season, including Greg Layne, Corey Shakes, Logan Stover and Gregory Harrison.
Despite the youth, however, the Pirates will continue to lean on a new batch of senior leadership.
One of those seniors is guard Darrion Session, who transferred from Palatka — Lockhart’s old school — before the start of the school year. Session was a freshman when Lockhart was still a coach for the Panthers.
“It feels like home being back with him,” said Session, who scored a game-high 17 points against the Raiders. “It feels great to start the season off with a win. We’ve got a lot of young people, and I think we’re going to be great.”