The Mainland girls basketball team’s season came to an end Feb. 15 with a loss in the round of 16.
Host Pensacola Pine Forest (16-7) defeated the Bucs 43-33 in the Region 1-5A semifinals.
“This game was a little rocky, in my opinion, but we came out on top and at this point in the season, when you get a win, you run with it.”
BRANDON STEWART, Mainland girls basketball coach
Mainland, which ended the season at 14-10, advanced to the regional semifinals with a 49-41 win over Panama City Beach Arnold in a regional quarterfinal on Feb. 10 at home.
“That was a good game for us in the first round of the regionals,” Mainland coach Brandon Stewart said. “When we do what we are supposed to do, we put ourselves in a better position to win games. This game was a little rocky, in my opinion, but we came out on top and at this point in the season, when you get a win, you run with it.”
Mainland started off strong with a 14-9 lead in the first quarter and kept the Marlins at bay the entire game. Six-foot forward Lauren Stewart was the leading scorer for the Bucs with 13 points. Arnold’s Karen Jones scored 28 points, more half of the team’s final score.
“This is what we worked for,” Mainland assistant coach Shana Cox said. “This is the part of the season that we prepare for, so when the time came, we were ready.”
Mainland captain Nyasia James has been playing basketball since she was in third grade and has led the varsity as the point guard all four years of her high school career. Her GPA is 4.1, even while enduring the hectic postseason schedule.
“Our main goal was to win so we can advance to the next level,” James said. “I came ready to play, just ready to start. I’m hoping that we win and continue playing as we’ve been playing.”