The first night of the holiday break could not have started any better for first-year Navarre coach Klint Lay and his young Raiders. In a white-knuckle thriller the home team defeated the Washington Wildcats 53-51 for its first win of the season and in District 1-6A basketball. The Raiders’ record is 1-8 overall 1-7 in district play.
Starter Andrew Bertean was as cool as the other side of the pillow in nailing four free throws in the final minute to push the Raiders lead to four.
After a time out, the Wildcats inbounded the ball with 21 ticks left to play and faced an active and aggressive Raiders defense. Unable to get a quick shot, the ’Cats looked inside but Bertean deflected the entry pass and a loose-ball scramble ensued. Play came to a stop with nine seconds left as the crowd’s collective breath was held awaiting the call – an intentional foul against the Raiders that gave Washington two free throws and the ball.
Following the successful pair of free throws the ’Cats looked to cash in on their ninth life, but the Raiders again pressured and contested every move, forcing a long three-point attempt that fell short and giving the Raiders their first mark in the victory column.
The Raiders outscored the Wildcats in both the second and fourth quarters behind a well-balanced attack with three players scoring in double digits.
Blake Malter spearheaded the first-half charge, scoring 10 of his game-high 17 points in the second quarter. The Raiders led by a bucket at halftime, 26-24, on the heels of an 8-0 run.
Gatlin Casey tossed in 13 points and grabbed five rebounds and with fellow starter Cameron Mayweather chipped in 10 points, eight in the crucial second half.
Dec. 19 at Navarre
Navarre 53, Washington 51
Washington 14 10 16 11—51
Navarre 13 13 13 14—53
Washington—Shoemone 8, Knight 6, Griffin 4, D. Jones 4, J Jones 13, J Williams 9, Lasten 7.
Navarre —Casey 13, Malter 17, Bertean 4, Quinones 6, Mayweather 10, Webb 1, Gill 2.