Not many, if any, would have picked Hagerty and St. Petersburg in the preseason to face each other in the first game of the class 8A semi-final, but Hagerty’s (24-8) 57-51 victory Wednesday night proved that picks and opinions are just that and it’s how you play the game that matters.
The Huskies are a three point shooting team whose players move very well without the ball and score it with confidence. They started out the game going 6 of 11 from distance– led by junior guard/forward Denzel Mahoney who ended the first quarter going 4 of 5 from the perimeter.
St. Petersburg looked punched in the mouth from the outset as they couldn’t seem to figure out Hagerty’s offensive style and then shooting poorly to open the game– 2 of 13 in the first quarter– made matters worse.
They were able to bounce back and adjust in the second quarter outscoring their Oviedo-based opponent 16 to 6 to close the halftime deficit to just two points. St Petersburg closed the half on a 7-0 run.
The game would stay close as both would exchange baskets throughout the third quarter. Despite a close score, St. Petersburg couldn’t keep much momentum, while Hagerty kept finding ways to make plays throughout the game.
St. Petersburg is a young team on the rise and will be very good for some years to come, but their best players had a tough time shooting the ball tonight.
Junior guard Travis Bianco is a good scoring guard with deceptive athleticism. However, a missed fastbreak dunk in the second half summed up his tough shooting night as he finished with 14 points on 5 of 16 from the field. He would add nine rebounds.
Junior guard/forward Pro Wells struggled with his shot as we’ve seen before. He attempted to score from the post, but that’s a part of his game that needs further development. Wells managed to go 3 of 8 from field for eight points.
Sophomore guard Darius Banks struggled as well ending the game with 10 points– 4 of which came after halftime.
The Huskies have a must-watch junior guard/forward in Denzel Mahoney who displayed shooting touch in the mid-range and the perimeter. He is primarily a catch-and-shoot player standing 6-foot-4-inches. He can put he ball on the floor pretty well and showed a good ability to score at the rim through contact. Mahoney was a huge suprise to us, although he is averaging a team-high 26.4 points per game. He currently has no college scholarship offers, but that will have to change.
Mahoney finished with a game-high 24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 steals. Junior guard Alex Keel added 12 and Isaac Nze chipped in 11.
The Huskies will go on to play the winner of Wellington and Hollywood McArthur for the 8A championship.