Raiders gain valuable experience at shootout

Taf Bentley would have loved to see his Navarre boys basketball team knock off Crestview Saturday night in the final game of the Johnny Huston’s Shootout.

It didn’t happen. The Raiders fell 51-44 to the Bulldogs one night after knocking off West Florida Tech 57-44 in their shootout opener.

Yet, the reason this event was created in the first place — this one was the inaugural year of it — had nothing to do with wins and losses but rather the experience of playing games that had a playoff-like feel to it.

That mission was accomplished, with the crowd cheering and the intensity on the gym floor at another level than what is typically found in a regular-season game.

“It was incredible and such a fun time,” Bentley said. “It’s exciting to see how well this event went that teams had a chance to expose our area to great basketball.”

Navarre flirted with a win most of the night against the Bulldogs and got within five at 45-40 with 3:50 to go when Dominic Riddle hit a free throw.

The Raiders, though, were unable to make the shots they needed or come up with the defensive stops that ultimately would have shifted the momentum in their favor.

Bentley talked about some of the missed opportunities in his postgame interview.

“We missed getting a rebound and they put it back in. We had three trips down the floor and couldn’t convert around the rim,” Bentley said. “As stupid as the adage is, layups and free throws help you win games. We have to do a better job of that. The best part is, these guys are going to get better at that.”

Read more in the Dec. 22 edition of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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