Boys fight 'til bitter end against Seven Rivers

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By Jenna McKenna

Cedar Key boys basketball played hard in Monday's matchup against district opponent Seven Rivers, but fell 74-26 to the Warriors.

Seven Rives, always a talented and threatening team, has already notched its belt against strong area teams, including a win against Williston and a good scare against Bronson. The Sharks came out strong against the visitors, keeping it close in the first half, but the addition of the Warriors' three-point shooting was too much to overcome.

Derek LaBahn, the night?s leading scorer with 20 points, started the Warriors off with a pair of free throws, and the the next two baskets. Matt Reichert responded for Cedar Key, rebounding Richie Rain for the Sharks first hoop.

Tom Sakelson scored off a pass from Joseph Bishop, and also sank two free throws, with Bishop adding another. Justin Speegle's alert ballhandling helped get the rock to the shooters.

On defense, the Sharks had a tough time stopping LaBahn and Miles Kaufmann, sending both to the line, where they were faultless. Keaton Wahl stepped up and began to drop threes for the Warriors.

Cedar Key protected the ball better in the second quarter, scoring 13 points to the Warriors' 15.

Bishop was five of six from the line, and took a rebound all the way home for a bucket. He also took a dish from Micah Shelby to score.

Despite a strong comeback, the Sharks were far behind at the start of the quarter, and in addition to LaBahn's frontal attacks, Tyler Commons also began to shoot threes for Seven Rivers. The half ended with the Warriors up 44-20.

Three-point shooting told the story of the second half, as Commons and Wahl continued to bomb from downtown Lecanto. The Sharks hustled, forcing some turnovers against Seven Rivers, but running into trouble against the Warriors' equally sticky defense.

Sakelson threaded a putback through the hoop from beneath a forest of arms, and Bishop also finished off a rebound. The clock began to run with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

Bishop scored the final bucket for Cedar Key, off a dish by Sakelson. The Sharks ran until the horn sounded, never giving up in their effort to stop Seven Rivers.

Inexperience was a factor, Sharks' head coach Aaron Haldeman said, with some players playing out of position this game. There was also the fact that Seven Rivers is a dominant team. "I think they're going to run away with the district, and everyone else will be competing for second place," Haldeman said.

"I am pleased with the play we got from Tom Sakelson and Matt Reichert," Haldeman said. "They combined for our first seven points against Seven rivers. This is the first year that either have ever played basketball, and I think both are going to bring a lot to the team."

Overall, the team has a lot of work ahead, said Haldeman. "We are going to have to do a better job of protecting the basketball and not turn it over. We are just going to have to keep working hard, playing and coaching, and continue to improve every time out."

Leading scorers:

Cedar Key:

Joseph Bishop, 14; Tom Sakelson, 8

Seven Rivers:

Derek LaBahn, 20; Tyler Commons, 16