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Cedar Key boys played one of their best quarters of the season in a 71-36 loss to Seven Rivers Friday.
"We got beaten up, but at least you knew we were there," said head coach Aaron Haldeman.
For much of the game, Seven Rivers played the dominant game for which they are well known, outscoring the Sharks by an average of 10 points a quarter. Starting in the second quarter, however, Cedar Key held them to 12-5 on the period, getting ready for a third quarter explosion that saw Cedar Key nearly match their host, scoring 17 points to Seven Rivers' 21 in those eight minutes.
"The boys played really hard the whole game, and never let up," Haldeman said. "I'd say there were maybe two possessions the whole game when we didn't get back on defense. It was a very physical game."
Although the Sharks stood their ground, Seven Rivers had an outside game that was tough to defend.
"They hit five three-pointers, and had four guys in double figures," Haldeman said.
He also said the Seven Rivers game was the best the Sharks have looked since being runners-up in Branford's Christmas Tournament. Swingman Micah Shelby moved back to Tennessee right after that, and the team since then has been looking for the kind of spark he was so good at providing.
"Aaron Esposito and Matt Reichert have really stepped up for us since then, and the last couple of games I've moved them into the starting lineup and rotated a couple of other guys out," Haldeman said.
Cedar Key lost badly to Hernando Christian last Thursday, 58-15, and easily beat Countryside 60-52 the week before. They also dropped an overtime game to First Academy, 59-50, that Haldeman feels they should have won.
The Sharks will be looking to gel into their most consistent play with a week of regulation play left before districts, which will be held at Meadowbrook.
"We'll probably end up with the fourth seed," Haldeman said.
"I think we could have gotten the first or second seed, but we let a couple of games slip away."