Navarre’s boys basketball team went into halftime with a two-point lead over Niceville in the District 1-8A championship game Friday night.
Head coach Taf Bentley knew the advantage wasn’t safe.
“I felt like they were going to come out and be really strong, and I was right,” Bentley said.
Strong might be an understatement.
Trey Diggs drilled three consecutive 3-pointers to start the third quarter, and the Raiders, despite battling to the end, were unable to get the momentum back in a 65-54 loss to the Eagles.
It’s the second consecutive year the Raiders have fallen to the Eagles in the title game.
“I told them I don’t think we necessarily lost that game. They won it,” Bentley said. “Hats off to them. But also, I’m so proud of our guys. We kept hanging around until the end. It shows you what they are about.”
Diggs’ shots put the Eagles up 32-25 before Matt Harshany pulled the Raiders to within four at 32-28.
Navarre, which led 25-23 at halftime, was down 42-29 at the end of the third. The Raiders closed the gap to 58-52 with 48 seconds left after two free throws by Dante Wright.
Harshany scored 26 points to pace the Raiders. Dominic Riddle finished with 18.
Despite the loss, the Raiders will move on to play in the regional tournament Thursday in Tallahassee.