Navarre usually stumbles in games against Niceville. But not on Tuesday night.
For the first time in program history, the Raiders prevailed against the area powerhouse, stunning the Eagles 61-50.
Taf Bentley has been the coach for seven seasons at Navarre and has waited for this moment. He wasn’t able to witness it, however, sitting out after being ejected from Friday night’s 52-45 win over Fort Walton Beach for arguing a foul call.
Assistant head coach Dave Proctor filled in and noted the fact that the Raiders won in their coach’s absence is a credit to Bentley.
“The mark of a good leader is a guy who doesn’t have to be there for his team to be successful,” Proctor said.
Two 3-pointers by Matt Harshany and another by Sage McKenna staked the Raiders to an 18-9 first-quarter lead.
Navarre led 33-22 at halftime. The Eagles trimmed the gap to four late in the third, getting as close as 37-33. The Raiders led 41-33 going into the fourth.
Big shots and crucial stops helped Navarre (4-2) hold off the Eagles (1-5) down the stretch of this District 1-8A opener. Harshany scored 28. Andre Smith poured in 18.
“We got them down but couldn’t put them out. They kept coming at us,” Proctor said. “We stepped up when they got close and made plays when we needed to. It felt really good to win this one.”
Read the full article in the Dec. 21 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.