The Buccaneers beat Matanzas 43-36 on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Matanzas High School.
Down seven points with 10 seconds left in Matanzas’ game against Mainland, Pirates forward Greg Layne released a 3-point shot from deep behind the arc. Layne’s high-arching shot clanked off the side of the rim. It was the Pirates’ 14th missed 3-pointer of the game.
“We struggled miserably from the 3-point line,” Pirates coach Donald Lockhart said. “We just never got into a rhythm.”
Matanzas, a defensive team by nature, has struggled mightily to score in its past few games. Against Orange Park on Feb. 3, the Pirates scored 36 points — in a win — and on Feb. 1 the Pirates came close against Palatka in the SJRAC Conference Tournament, taking the Panthers to the brink before losing 56-51 in double overtime.
The Pirates came close once again against the Buccaneers, however Mainland held on to defeat Matanzas 43-36 on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Matanzas High School. The Pirates went 0-for-14 from beyond the arc and shot 40% from the free throw line. In addition, their highest-scoring quarter came in the third period. They scored 10 points.
In addition to the poor shooting, turnovers were also an issue against the Buccaneers.
“It’s already tough to win ball games when you’re not shooting well,” said Layne, who paced the Pirates with a team-high 13 points. “You’re never going to win games turning the ball over as much as we do.”
Lockhart said that despite the team’s difficulties on offense, he was pleased with the intensity his team played with, especially on defense. He said the Pirates’ help-side defense and communication stood out during an otherwise challenging game.
“We’re a defensive team. We want to be a defensive team,” Lockhart said. “We want to force teams into turnovers to get transition points. We are forcing turnovers, but unfortunately, we’re also giving the ball right back. We have to convert once we get those turnovers.”
And although district play is only a few weeks away, Lockhart said his team will be ready by the opening tip of the district quarterfinal.
“We have our hands full right now,” he said, “but we’ll be OK.”