Sweep sensation NCT rolls Hernando for second time in two weeks
BROOKSVILLE - The game hadn't even gone on for a full two minutes; Shareka Maner had seven points while Hernando High had zero. The Lady Leopards called time out, but the rest of the game didn't get much better at the Nature Coast gym Wednesday night. The host Lady Sharks had their way with another county opponent, improving to 29-0 all-time in county contests, beating Hernando for the second time in less than two weeks, 69-44. "The ball movement was excellent tonight," Maner said. "I got some good passes from my teammates. Everyone did good tonight."I think I was just pumped to play tonight. We knew what we had to do and played our game." The 6-foot junior hit a three-pointer for the game's first basket and then hit consecutive lay-ups off two steals by teammate Cherikhan Waddy. Maner ended up with nine in the period, while point guard Crystal Anthony banked in a three-pointer at the 1:53 mark to provide a double-digit lead, 18-6. Nature Coast (5-0 overall, 4-0 Class 4A, District 8, 3-0 Hernando County Athletic Conference) built a 37-23 advantage at halftime on a Jen Marshall put back at the horn. The Lady Sharks slowly increased the lead from there, pushing it 52-30 after three. They cruised to their second triumph over Hernando (2-3 overall, 2-3 4A-8, 0-2 HCAC), adding to a 46-34 road win Nov. 16. "I think we played well in transition," Nature Coast Head Coach Travis Lamle said. "We hit more threes than we have all year, that was nice. Box outs killed us. "...We looked better in the half court than we have in a while. We've been pounding on Crystal and Rikhan (Waddy) especially to feed the post. The wings did a real good job of hitting the post early." Maner, the primary post player, finished up with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots, all game highs. Waddy chipped in 15 points, five assists and a couple of steals. Anthony scored 10 points along with eight assists and two steals. Nature Coast had 27 assists as a team and 15 steals. April Griffey starred for Hernando, the senior center tallying 17 points and 12 rebounds. "She kills us every game," Lamle said. "She works so hard down there. She's one of their top scorers and rebounders every game." The Lady Leopards had pieced together a modest two-game winning streak coming in, defeating Hudson High and first-year Land O' Lakes Sunlake. "We didn't execute," said first-year Hernando Head Coach JoSandra Maner. "Last time (against Nature Coast) we did what we practiced and it worked. Today we just didn't execute. "We played timid; we got out-hustled. There's no doubt they're the better team but we could have competed better. "I'm glad we got them out of the way. We don't have to see them against until districts. Hopefully we'll get to have a good season. The whole county gives a lot of hype to this school (Nature Coast). I think that hurts the girls." Nature Coast's opportunity to make it 30 in a row over county foes will come Tuesday at Springstead High. "They (Hernando) played us tough," Lamle said. "All the county schools are always looking to get you. We've got a big target on our backs."