Shawndarius Cowart, No. 5 of the Pensacola High Tigers, is fouled by a member of the Oakleaf Knights as Cowart goes up for two during their Region 1-6A quarterfinal game played Thursday evening at PHS. The Tigers won 61-49.
The Pensacola High Tigers saw their season come to an end by a 63-44 defeat against the Gainesville High Purple Hurricanes in the Region 1-6A semifinals.
And though the Tigers played Gainesville close for three quarters, a first-quarter deficit created by Gainesville proved to be too much to overcome for the Tigers and PHS coach Terrence Harris.
“I thought we had a great season,” Harris said. “We made a great run and I enjoyed it.”
The Tigers fell into a 21-5 hole at the conclusion of the first quarter due to high-pressure defense from the Purple Hurricanes, which were lead by Ike Smith’s 26-point performance.
“We were getting the ball in tough spots against a team that was looking to trap,” Harris said. “I think we went back to bad habits in that first quarter. In a game like this, younger kids have a tendency to go back to bad habits.”
But not all Tigers were contained by Gainesville’s lockdown defense, as Marcus Cole dropped 18 points to lead PHS. Freshman phenom Shawdarius Cowart produced 10 points, despite finding himself in foul trouble after he picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter.
“(Cole) was able to hit shots,” Harris said. ” He was one of our only players to find shooting rhythm. The way Gainesville plays defense, we struggled to get shots off.”
But in wake of the season-ending loss, Harris felt optimism towards the future of PHS basketball — a team which will watch four seniors graduate.
“Any team would have liked to have won tonight,” Harris said. “But besides losing four seniors, with our players returning it’s a bright future.”
Gainesville 63, PHS 44
PHS…5 13 12 14—44
Gainesville…21 13 14 15—63
PHS (22-6) — Zykereyan Jones 2, Marcus Cole 18, Mitchell Maxwell 3, Shawndarius Cowart 10, Devin Gadsdon 2, Robert Reaves 5, Devonchae Bryant 4.
GHS — Rudy Boyd 14, Ike Smith 26, Isaiah Wilson 2, Ronte Oates 11, Jamichael Smart 2, Amani Williams 8.