Boys basketball | Palmetto exhibits experience in season-opening win over Manatee

Experience shows as Palmetto pours it on in opener

adell@bradenton.comNovember 20, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Palmetto and Manatee are two basketball teams with totally different expectations.

In his first year running the program, Troy Bellamy is trying to resurrect a Manatee program that won only one game last year. On the flip side, the Tigers are a talented, athletic squad with a lot of experience.

It didn't take long to see the difference in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday night when visiting Palmetto rolled to 58-14 victory after taking a 45-8 lead at halftime.

The entire second half was played with a running clock as mandated when a team gets a 35-point lead.

Palmetto had four players in double figures, sparked by Stephon Saunders, who notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Three of his teammates hit double figure scoring in limited playing time. Jarrid Rhodes led the way with a game high 14 points. Jordan Young had 10 points and seven steals and Khalit Garcia added 11 points and six rebounds.

Despite the one-sided victory, Tigers head coach Reggie Bellamy wasn't happy with the way his team played.

"We have a lot of work we have to do. Inside, rebounding and our shot selection," Reggie Bellamy said. "We didn't play to our strength. We played to the opportunities we had. We won the game and obviously you want to start the season with having some type of success. We can start there. It sounds good."

The Tigers have four starters back from last year's team and their experience was evident when they forced 12 Manatee turnovers in the first quarter jumping out to a 20-4 lead after eight minutes.

Manatee couldn't get anything going. Jon Lubin led the Canes with four points and Riquan Roberts had three points.

"We are learning. This is a team that has to start from the basics. But the kids are working hard, and they are trying to compete." Troy Bellamy said. "We played a Palmetto team that is very good and experienced and it showed. But we could've acquitted ourselves much better tonight. We are much better than a team that scores only 14 points in a game."

Manatee doesn't have a lot of height and not many of its players have much experience at the high school level. They tried to get it inside to Roberts, but the Palmetto defense did a good job of collapsing on him and there were not a lot of other options.

The Hurricanes did fairly well in a preseason classic at Cardinal Mooney, losing by 10 to the host Cougars and staying with a good Sarasota Christian team for a half.

"I think our guys may have been a little intimidated tonight. This is the first time they've had a gym where it was half full and people actually came to see them play," Troy Bellamy said.

"Those are the things we have to learn and grow from. It's just a lack of experience. We probably don't have anyone with more than 75 points for their whole varsity career on the entire roster."

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