Late surge not enough to propel Raiders to victory

He put on a show in the fourth quarter Thursday night.

Nineteen points in all, a head-turning effort fueled by four 3-pointers that willed the Navarre boys basketball team back into its game against Niceville in a crucial District 1-8A showdown.

Yet, as good as Matt Harshany was for the Raiders in the final quarter against the Eagles, he and the Raiders, down by as many as 16 at one point, were unable to finish the comeback, falling 62-54 in front of a spirited crowd.

“Matt got really hot in the fourth quarter. He gave us a shot,” Navarre head coach Taf Bentley said. “We had opportunities. We have to learn to maximize the things we are doing well and minimize all of the negatives.”

Turnovers and missed shots in the final minutes hurt the Raiders’ cause after they closed the gap to 55-51 thanks to a Harshany 3-pointer that was set up off a steal by Gianni Holloman.

Holloman forced the turnover and pushed the ball up the floor quickly, finding Harshany on the left side of the 3-point line. He launched the shot up and it swished through, bringing the student section to its feet and reviving Navarre’s hopes for a victory with 2:30 to play.

The intensity heated up from there as the Raiders did all they could to draw even closer, pressuring the Eagles into turnovers but failing to capitalize.

Harshany, who finished his night with 31 points, pulled the Raiders to within five at 59-54 with 31.5 seconds to go, driving hard into the lane and scoring off a layup, the ball rolling on the rim before falling through, and drawing a foul.

Navarre (11-11, 2-2) has lost two consecutive games as its up-and-down season continues.  This loss was tough to swallow but Bentley is proud of the effort his team put forth, especially when you consider there was a time when even being within striking distance of a win over Niceville was a big deal.

Read more in the Jan. 26 edition of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here

Listen to interview with Navarre head basketball coach Taf Bentley

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