Regional loss doesn’t overshadow successful season

The toughest thing for Navarre head basketball coach Taf Bentley to deal with Thursday night in Tallahassee wasn’t that his Raiders were eliminated from postseason play by Lincoln, it’s that the 2015-16 season is over.

Navarre had a season to remember, winning seven more games than it did a year ago and playing in the regional tournament for the first time in 12 years. But the curtain was lowered on the season against the Trojans, who topped the Raiders 66-48 in a 7A regional quarterfinal game.

“I hated that it had to end,” Bentley said. “Our guys have worked hard all year and I’m proud that we were able to get to a regional. It was a great moment to be in. Some people commented that maybe the moment was too big, but I didn’t think it was. We lost to a really good team.”

Making their first regional tournament appearance since 2003, Navarre (17-11) came out ready to go and was tied at 15-15 with Lincoln at the end of one quarter.

But the Trojans dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Raiders 21-10 en route to a 36-25 lead at halftime. Navarre trailed 55-34 entering the fourth.

“The coaches I talked to about Lincoln told me they were going to put a lot of pressure on us, and they did pressure, but I don’t think it overwhelmed us,” Bentley said. “They just got to us in key moments. But our guys played hard from start to finish. They gave a great effort.”

Read more in the Feb. 18 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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