EAST MANATEE -- In the first quarter, Braden River was on fire and Palmetto looked as if it were burned out in a Class 7A-District 10 boys basketball game.
The Pirates buried six of seven attempts from beyond the arc in the initial eight minutes while the Tigers committed five turnovers. It enabled Braden River to take a 12-point lead midway through the second and they led by seven at halftime Tuesday night.
Then Palmetto came alive in the second half. Using its length and quickness while pressing all over the court, the visiting Tigers turned the game around and emerged with a 55-42 victory.
"We didn't wake up until the second half. We came in very lethargic and I'll put that one on me as far as our mental focus," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "Most teams shoot well in their own gym and they have a couple of good shooters. We just did not focus in the first half. We did not anticipate on our defensive reads and that created an opportunity for them to get shots."
Jacob Garrett came off the bench in the first quarter and nailed three straight from 3-point land while Ryan Neuzil drilled one from beyond the NBA three-point distance as the buzzer went off to give the Pirates a 22-9 first-quarter lead.
Palmetto (6-5, 2-0) picked up its defense in the second quarter and limited Braden River (2-5, 0-2) to only one attempt from beyond the arc and forced nine turnovers to cut its deficit to 29-22 at halftime.
Palmetto kept the pressure on, forcing six turnovers at the beginning of the second half, and finally took the lead at 30-29 less than three minutes into the third quarter on a jumper by Tre Clark.
Braden River regained the lead on baskets by Deondrick Bacon and Parker Golemo, but could hold it only briefly.
Palmetto went on a 9-2 run and finished on a three-point play to take a 41-35
advantage into the final period. Braden River fought back again and trailed 41-39 on a bucket by Deoni Cason, but the Tigers responded with an 11-2 run to put the game away.
"We shared the ball and played well in the first half and then the press got to us," Braden River head coach Jason Mickan said. "They're tall and athletic and got into the passing lanes, and we turned the ball over quite a bit. We've been well poised but for some reason we were not tonight."
Clark led the Tigers with 24 points (8-19 shooting), with 14 coming in the second half and nine in the third quarter. The other double figure scorers for Palmetto were Kyle Edwards and Kevin Crispin, who had 11 points each.
Edwards had eight rebounds and Dakwan Kirce had five in limited action. The top scorers for Braden River were Bacon and Garrett with nine points apiece.