SARASOTA -- The Palmetto High boys basketball team had ambitious plans for the holidays.
Perhaps they were too ambitious.
The Tigers were trying to win two Christmas tournaments within a span of eight days and looked as if they might have run out of gas in the process.
Palmetto had its worst offensive performance of the season and looked sluggish in dropping a 48-38 contest to Tampa Sickles in quarterfinal play at the Suncoast Holiday Classic on Friday at Riverview High.
The Tigers (12-2) shot a woeful 29 percent from the field (12-of-42), including 1-for-14 in the fourth quarter, and were 13-for-22 from the free-throw line. Sickles (8-5) outrebounded Palmetto 27-19 and dropped in 11 of 15 attempts from the charity stripe.
Palmetto won the (Cape Coral) Mariner Christmas Tournament on Monday night, beating the host school 64-59 while knocking down 11 of 13 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
"There are not many teams that are going to go to two consecutive tournaments and win every game. Maybe our legs were down," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "We couldn't hit any shots, and they sat back in a zone. We were flat and we were flat last night (Thursday). You nev
er know. I thought Sickles, execution exposed us, and we couldn't hit any free throws."
Sickles had nine offensive rebounds in the first half and put up 30 shots to only 17 for Palmetto. But the Tigers stayed in the game, and it was tied at 21 at halftime.
Sickles opened the third quarter with 11 unanswered points and never trailed. During the spree, Palmetto turned the ball over three times and missed five straight shots.
The Tigers scored six straight points and trailed 35-30 after three quarters. But Sickles got off to another quick start to begin the fourth quarter and pushed its lead to 40-31 with 2:50 left in the game.
The closest Palmetto could get was to cut its deficit to seven points twice, the last time at 44-37 with 46 seconds remaining. The Tigers hurt themselves at the free-throw, line converting only 2 for 9 attempts in the last 1:45 of the game and missing the front end of three straight one and opportunities.
"My guys need to understand when you are winning and doing well, people are going to have their best game against you," Bellamy said. "We haven't played good basketball consistently, and that's what we want to do. I have no regrets about playing all those games because we still want to learn."
Jordan Young led Palmetto with 19 points and pulled in five rebounds. Stepvon Saunders led the Tigers on the boards with six rebounds and contributed seven points.
Palmetto was 3-for-17 from 3-poiint land. Sickles connected on 19 of 48 shots and was 1-for-7 from bonus land. The Gryphons' 6-foot-8 center, Bryce Nickels, who signed with Youngstown State, had nine points and controlled the glass with 13 rebounds.
"I told my kids this is not a funeral. We just got to go back to the table and get our legs back and go from there. You are not going to win them all, but what you want to do is learn from the losses," Bellamy said.
COVINGTON CATHOLIC 57, CARDINAL MOONEY 38 -- The Cougars (7-3) suffered their biggest loss of the season to the undefeated school from Kentucky, which is just a few miles outside of Cincinnati.
Covington (6-0) was credited with 13 steals and forced 18 Cardinal Mooney turnovers. The Colonels turned had only two turnovers in the second half.
Ryan McMahon was the only Mooney player in double figures with 10 points and shot an uncharacteristic 2-for-11 from 3-point land. Guard Justin Najmy led the Cougars with six rebounds. Mitch Arimura had five rebounds and eight points.
RIVERVIEW 57, BRADEN RIVER 40 -- The Pirates (5-7) forgot to guard Harrison Hebert and on the basketball court that could be considered a mortal sin. The 6-3 senior burned Braden River, going a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land to score a career-high 18 points.
Herbert has taken 31 shots all season and all but two are from beyond the arc. He has buried 20 of 29 from bonus land, and was, oh by the way, is 0-for-2 on two-point field goals. The wing man took game scoring honors and was the only player in double figures for Riverview (8-2).
Zach Kendall led Braden River with 14 points. In a battle of big men, Braden River's 6-7 center Michael Braxton had seven rebounds and five blocks. Riverview's 6-8 Nick Havener had 13 rebounds and five blocks.
SOUTHEAST 51, BOOKER 48 -- The Seminoles had 10 players hit the scoring column and converted eight of 12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to pull out the win in the consolation bracket.
Ronald Taylor and Tre Alexander scored 10 points apiece to the lead the Noles. Cecil Richardson led Southeast on the glass with 10 rebounds.