EAST MANATEE -- When Lakewood Ranch and Braden River get together, you can throw out the records.
The host Pirates did just that in eking out a 40-38 Class 7A-Disrict 10 boys basketball victory over their archrivals on Friday night.
Lakewood Ranch came into the contest with a glittering 6-1 record and was 2-0 in the district. Braden River was winless in two district games and 2-5 overall, but the Pirates looked hungrier and played that way.
Despite Lakewood Ranch's height advantage, Braden River controlled the boards and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to four for the Mustangs. They forced 15 turnovers in the final three quarters and held Lakewood Ranch scoreless for the last 4 minutes, 42 seconds of the game.
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"This win is huge for us and the program," Braden River head coach Jason Mickan said. "I went to school at Lakewood Ranch and it's a big rivalry, but even more important than me this is big for the program. We were 0-2 in the district, and Lakewood Ranch was 2-0. This is something that will turn around our season."
Lakewood Ranch took a 38-35 lead with 3:38 left in the game on a layup by Cam Darby. It would be the Mustangs last points of the game.
Deondrick Bacon, who led the Pirates with nine rebounds and 10 points, got a putback to cut Braden River's deficit to 38-37 with 3:05 remaining.
Lakewood Ranch had turnovers on two straight possessions and with 40 seconds left in the game, Derek Heinz grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back to put the Pirates ahead 39-38. The Mustangs missed a shot and got the rebound, but turned the ball over.
Jacob Garrett dropped in one of two free throws with six seconds on the clock. After a timeout, Lakewood Ranch struggled to get the ball downcourt and missed a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.
"They beat us to every 50-50 ball. Our guys definitely wanted to win, but we are in a learning process of what it takes to win," Lakewood Ranch head coach Jeremy Schiller said. "It's one thing to want to do something, and it's another to be willing to make the plays to do it. They beat us on the glass and bullied us. They got rebounds and finished plays."
Both teams struggled offensively with Bacon and Lakewood Ranch's Cam Darby the only double figure scorers (10 points each). Braden River shot 15 for 45 from the field and was 5-12 from beyond the arc. The Mustangs shot 14-of-40, were just 2-for-8 in the final period and were 5-of-14 from 3-point land.
"We actually came out and brought it tonight and were able to turn it around. We relied on our seniors once again," Mickan said. "Deondrick Bacon had a great game. We had some young guys stepping also. We battled on the boards."
Lakewood Ranch jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game and looked to be in control. But Braden River answered with 3-pointers from Jon Colon, Jacob Garrett and Ryan Owsianka and trailed 14-11 after the first quarter.
Lakewood Ranch turned the ball over seven times in the second period and scored only five points enabling the Pirates to take a 24-19 halftime lead.
"They out-toughed us tonight. We just have to learn how to win and be tougher and battle inside," Schiller said. "In game decided by a couple of points, all those 50-50 balls matter and they beat us to the majority of those."