4A: Jacksonville Bolles holds off Holy Trinity
In the end, Jacksonville Bolles smelled the win and seized it.
The Bulldogs held off a pesky and smaller Melbourne Holy Trinity Episcopal team 46-39 to capture the FHSAA Class 4A boys basketball state championship on Thursday at The Lakeland Center.
“I am so proud of my guys,” Bolles head coach Anthony Candelino said. “We might not have played the best game tonight, but in the fourth quarter our guys realized they were in a battle. Our kids realized it was time to turn it on and I am glad we were able to.”
Despite holding an obvious height advantage, third-ranked Bolles only held a two-point halftime lead, 26-24, and was actually trailing fourth-ranked Holy Trinity 31-30 heading into the pivotal fourth period.
“I think our defense really did a good job swarming,” Holy Trinity head coach Steve Henderson said. “We’ve been small for a long time and we really rely on help and making rotations. I think our guys did what we asked them to do, make it difficult for them to score inside.”
But Bolles switched to a 1-3-1 zone in the fourth quarter and began building a lead that eventually climbed to 10 points late in the period.
“Once they started holding the ball, and we are not a big man-to-man team, so we figured the 1-3-1 would put the pressure on their guards up top,” Candelino said. “And with our length, it is pretty hard to pass around (us). We knew we could take away a few shooters with (the zone), and they struggled with it.”