After a near-miss, Coral Shores High’s boys basketball team heads to Redland Christian on Monday, expecting its first win of the season.
The Canes (0-3) tied Wednesday’s road game against Palmer Trinity, a 3-0 defending district champion, with a minute to go but came up short, 60-57.
“We had a good team right where we wanted them,” Cane head coach Jarrod Mandozzi said. “To go in and give [Palmer] everything they could handle and then some, and lead most of the way, is a great sign of things to come.”
Using their overall team size and quickness, Coral Shores jumped out to an early 10-point lead against the Falcons and carried a 31-25 advantage into halftime. Palmer rallied in a 21-point third quarter, setting the stage for a back-and-forth finish.
Hurricane senior point guard Elijah Woods put up a 21-point game and delivered eight assists, including a draw-and-dish to Valente Reynoso, who hit a bucket that tied the score with a minute to go. “Elijah was outstanding offensively and stellar on defense all night,” Mandozzi said.
Palmer hit free throws at the end to edge ahead, and a late 3-pointer by the Canes missed.
“For the first time this season we really got into sync, playing our game and doing what we wanted to do,” Mandozzi said.
Connor Rhyne led the Canes in rebounds and scored eight points before fouling out. Zech Rock and Reynoso stepped up to keep the level of front-court play high, said the coach.
Coral Shores battled to the end, despite it being the team’s third game in three days and their second straight trip to Miami.
The Canes took on Sports Leadership and Management Academy (1-1) in a Tuesday loss, 76-34. After being down 18 points at halftime against SLAM, Mandozzi began substituting freely “to try to save some legs for Palmer,” he said.
Robbie Prosek, Tim Orr and Rhyne in the front court helped limit SLAM’s 6-foot-7 senior center Richard Fisher to nine points, and 6-4 sophomore Kentron Poitier, developing into a star, to eight points. “We seemed to frustrate those guys but their guards killed us,” Mandozzi said.
The Canes tip off against Redland Christian, a smaller school, at 6:30 p.m. Monday on the mainland. Several JV Canes likely will make the trip along with Coral Shores’ regulars and may get some varsity time. Coral Shores plays a 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Ransom Everglades, following a 5:30 p.m. JV start.
Coral Shores put six players on the first-team honors squad of the South Florida Conference’s Independent Division.
Senior Aiden Hawkins led the Canes in rushing wtih 670 yards and seven touchdowns, and pulled down 65 tackles and three interceptions at linebacker.
Tight end Jay Kubida caught 10 passes for 125 yards with two touchdowns, and made three interceptions on defense.
Connor Rhyne caught four touchdown passes among his 14 receptions and 269 receiving yards as a tight end. On defense, he made three sacks.
Two-way senior lineman Dustin Chamberlain made 20 defensive tackles with two sacks. Christian Frisone led the Canes in interceptions with five as a defensive back and passed for 250 yards as a quarterback. Dillon Walters went 15-for-15 on extra-point kicks.
Picked for the second team were senior Elijah Woods, who passed for 490 yards and rushed for 407; linebacker and running back Blye Hofstetter; and defensive end Robbie Prosek.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206