The Gulf Breeze High School boys’ basketball team traveled down U.S. Highway 98 last Tuesday to a school they’re all too familiar with—their rival, Navarre High School.
Navarre, who was 9-11 going into the Tuesday night game had the floors to their basketball court spotless when the Dolphins walked in the door to the packed gymnasium full of Dolphin and Raider fans.
Despite being ahead most of the game, it was the Dolphins who would ultimately pull it together last-second to beat out the Raiders 60-57.
The win pushed the Dolphin boys up to a 13-8 season overall.
At the start of the first quarter, both teams scored points back-to-back until about the 4-minute mark when the Raiders rallied up an extra 3 points thanks to Matt Harshany. But the 10-6 lead didn’t last long. The Dolphins pummeled back with two layups, both from senior Cole Sheppard, and then another by Chance Napier.
With less than a minute left, both teams were at a tie, but a minute lasted a long time in the gymnasium that night. Within that 60 seconds, Raider Gianni Holloman scored a clean jump shot followed up by two good free throws from Harshany. As the clock ticked down to zero, Donte Wright had a millisecond to get his feet off of the ground and the ball in the air headed towards the hoop. As the buzzer sounded, his feet came off of the ground behind the 3-point line and his ball sunk in the net, giving the Raiders an early 17-12 lead as the first quarter ended.
In the second, Navarre extended their lead by 10 points over the Dolphins midway through the quarter thanks to two solid layups from Seth Fletcher and a clean 3-pointer from Harshany. With the scoreboard showing a Navarre lead of 25-14 following the Harshany shot, the Dolphins knew they had to get on their toes—and they did.
Dolphin Tyler Phelps made the first basket after the 11-point deficit and both Napier and junior Jackson Warren tag teamed 10 more points for the Dolphins to help the visiting team finish out the half only trailing by 4 behind the Raiders.
In the third, the Raiders came back with a vengeance in an attempt to keep the lead over the Dolphins. The second half started with a 3-pointer by Tyrese Harvey followed up by a jump shot from Wright seconds later. The Dolphins kept on their toes and were able to sink a few more baskets to stay on the heels of the Raiders, including a clean jump shot from Sheppard and a clean free throw the senior seconds later.
Raider Harshany followed up the Sheppard free throw with two of his own, followed by a layup from Harvey off a Navarre rebound.
Harshany polished off the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and Raider Dominic Riddle put another two on the board with a minute left in the third to finish out the quarter with the Raiders leading 51-43.
Despite being down by 8 points going into the fourth, the Dolphins wanted to prove to the Raiders they were the better team.
Dolphin Dimitri Pejic started the final quarter with a layup, followed up by a good free throw less than 2 minutes into the quarter.
Raider Riddle made an attempt to follow in Pejic’s footsteps by pounding out a layup and a jump shot moments later.
But the jump shot by the Raider was when Navarre took a turn for the worse. In a last-minute effort, the Dolphins pushed hard and were able to put 9 points on the board in less than 3 minutes, putting them within 1-point of the Raiders with 2:27 to go in the final quarter.
Both teams scrambled to get a basket for about two minutes and with the clock running below the 1-minute mark, the Dolphins acted quickly to seal the game. It was ultimately Brandon Schrepf who jumped over a pack of Raiders to follow up on a rebound and score a basket with 39 seconds left in the game. The basket pushed the Dolphins into a 58-57 lead over the Raiders.
Twenty seconds later, Dolphin Sheppard was given the opportunity to seal 2 layups, but sunk one instead. But one is all it took to keep the Raiders at bay with 22.4 seconds left in the game.
But even after the free throw, Sheppard wasn’t done and he was fouled again, allowing him to put one more on the point for the Dolphins with 6.2 seconds left on the board—and he did. The basket flushed out the game with a 60-57 Dolphin win.