BRADENTON -- Harry Kinnan, who has been enshrined in three halls of fame for coaching Manatee Community College to its greatest heights in a storied 19-year career, was honored by the school on Wednesday night.
MCC is called State College of Florida, and its basketball program doesn't look like the one Kinnan coached. But he predicted under his former player and first-year coach Elliot Washington it will return to prominence.
The Manatees (2-18) were pounded on the inside in dropping a 76-62 Suncoast Conference contest to Polk State College at Hal Chasey Gymnasium.
"Elliot was hired late and hasn't had a chance to recruit. I think he is going to be a good recruiter, and the future looks very bright," Kinnan said. "The good thing is Elliot is here to stay. They need the stability of somebody who is going to be here, build a program and then nurture it through, and Elliot Washington will do that."
Polk (8-10) had its way against a young SCF team that has struggled down low against physical teams. The Eagles scored 19 of their 36 field goals inside the paint and shot more than 60 percent from the field.
SCF was firing away from long range and missing, converting only 9 of 27 from behind the arc while Polk was 5-for-10 on 3-point attempts. For the season, the Manatees are shooting 30 percent from 3-point land.
"They definitely looked to get the ball into the paint, which was a different style of team than we played this year," Washington said. "Most of the teams we played were looking to shoot the trey. Polk was looking to get it into the paint and take high percentage shots."
Deonta Hearns led SCF with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Braden River product Tre' Bryant turned in a collegiate career high, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half to help the Manatees make a run and cut their deficit to 63-58 with 4 minutes, 46 seconds left.
A freshman, Bryant knocked down 3 of 5 attempts from beyond the arc. Hearns shot 6-for-12. Guard Gabriel Dos Santos had nine points and dished out four assists for SCF. Laquon Kirce had eight points and six rebounds for SCF.
"We didn't want to take that many threes and we didn't feel like we got very good execution out of our offense," Washington said. "We got to get into four and five and six passes so we can get high percentage shots. Bad shot selection is something we are working on.
"Tre' played well. We want him to be aggressive and shoot the ball. That was a pleasant surprise for us, but we knew what he was capable of. We just want him to go out and play and think less."
Kinnan coached MCC from 1977 through 1996, winning a program-record 367 games while averaging 19 victories per season. He went to the state tournament seven times, won it once and was runner-up twice. His best record was 27-3 in 1992.
"It's a special honor for me to give Coach Kinnan his award tonight. He mentored me and nurtured me into the player and person that I am today," Washington said.