The preliminaries are largely over as the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School boys’ basketball team enters the District 4-1A main event.
With three district games last week and three more this week, the Tiger Sharks are trying to snatch a bit of elusive momentum with the playoffs looming.
The Tiger Sharks enter the week 9-10 overall, 3-4 in district play, with three crucial district road games directly in their path.
Port St. Joe comes off a week during which it trounced Liberty County and Franklin County around a loss at South Walton.
“We picked up two big district wins and South Walton is as good as that program has ever been,” said Port St. Joe coach Derek Kurnitsky. “We are coming around a little bit. We are playing our kind of basketball, pressing, running. I think the team is really focused right now which is good for a young team.
“We are a bit more consistent right now and we have more depth than we have had this season. I am pleased where we are.”
The Tiger Sharks were at district-leading West Gadsden on Tuesday, play at Bozeman tonight and travel to Liberty County Saturday.
A visit by Liberty County got last week off to a rousing start as the Tiger Sharks had one of their more consistent offensive performances in a 66-39 victory.
Port St. Joe carved out a 26-11 halftime lead and pushed it to 49-21 after three periods.
T.J. Williams had 17 points and Kyran Batson 16 to lead Port St. Joe.
Sergio Clemons added eight points, Jarkeice Davis and Marquez Johnson put in seven points apiece, Marcel Johnson had five, Chad Quinn four, Natron Lee two and Luke Galloway two.
The Port St. Joe junior varsity lost to Liberty County 53-47. Jasmine Thomas had 15 points, Tyrek Sims added nine and Tyson Davis seven.
Two nights later, the Tiger Sharks traveled to South Walton.
The Seahawks turned the tables, jumping to a 40-25 lead at halftime and not allowing Port St. Joe to chip much away the rest of the game.
“The score was really not indicative,” Kurnitsky said. “We fought really hard and the shots just did not fall. You are going to have games like that.”
Clemons led Port St. Joe with 16 points and Marquez Johnson added 10.
Williams had nine, Batson six, Marcel Johnson four, Lee two and Galloway one.
In junior varsity action, Port St. Joe beat South Walton 51-38 as Thomas led the way with 13 points. Ethan Sander had 12 and Travis Roberson six.
The following night Port St. Joe welcomed rival Franklin County and came up big in a 73-56 victory.
“It was close early and we had a push late in the first half and then scored the first 14 points of the second half,” Kurnitsky said. “We could have won by 30 points, but we kind of pulled back on the press.
“That was probably the most complete game we have played all season. I thought the kids were really focused.”
Williams again led the way with 18 points, Marquez Johnson (14) and Lee (12) the other players in double figures.
Clemons had nine, Batson seven, Caleb Odom five and Thomas and Quinn each added four points.