Sharks bruise Bulldogs in Senior Night triumph

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By Jenna McKenna

Cedar Key varsity boys hosted Bell for their Senior Night, then went over and above the call of duty to make sure the visitors didn't spoil their special night, winning 51-46. The Sharks had lost to the Bulldogs at Bell earlier in the season, and did not want a repeat of that unhappy day.

After Bell took a momentary 4-0 lead, the Sharks immediately started to chip. Richie Rain hit a three, and Aaron Esposito cut in for another bucket to put Cedar Key up 5-4. Bell went on a 10-2 run, led by their monster in the middle, James Thomas. Thomas led all scorers with 26 points, but got into early foul trouble and the Sharks were able to catch up and pass the visitors before the half.

David Bishop had a huge game, starting in the second quarter when he and Justin Speegle combined for all of the Sharks' 16 points in those eight minutes.

Thomas returned to the floor in the second half, but Cedar Key was in a scoring rhythm. Bishop and Speegle continued to dominate the scoring, but couldn't do without the whole team defense and intense rebounding by Rain and Tom Sakelson. A crucial putback by Speegle widened the lead, as did a three by Rain.

The 'Dogs made a run in the fourth quarter when Thomas again went on a tear, but Matt Reichert stripped the boards and Esposito kept feeding the ball inside for Shark scorers. With the score tied at 46, Bishop made two free throws, and Speegle made two more. As time ran away, Bishop was sent to the line on an intentional foul. He made one more shot to put the game out of reach and get the 51-46 win.

"It comes down to fundamentals,"said Sharks' head coach Aaron Haldeman.

"We executed, we knocked down shots."

It was an amazing Senior Night outing, Haldeman said.

"Everybody stepped up. David Bishop had a heck of a game -- the bucket just opened up for him. When it didn't, he saw the floor amazingly well and found his teammates."

"Matt Reichert and Richie Rain got us big shots right when we needed them," Haldeman said.

"And, of course, we made our free throws at the end."