- January 31, 2023
The Mainland boys basketball team seized the District 4-5A championship title in a runaway 54-25 win against Deltona on Feb. 11 at home.
Mainland coach Joe Giddens annually constructs a tough schedule to prepare his team for the playoffs. This season, the Bucs played Jacksonville Jackson, Lake Highland Prep and Orlando Christian Prep, all of which are ranked among the state’s top 10.
“Every year I’ve organized the schedule to be really hard because if it’s hard, it will help us in the long run.”
JOE GIDDENS, Mainland boys basketball coach
“I think the schedule is what got us prepared for this,” he said. “Every year I’ve organized the schedule to be really hard, because if it’s hard, it will help us in the long run. That’s the strategy I do. We go play in Orlando. We go play so many tournaments. I try to play tough tournaments to get us ready.”
Mainland kept Deltona’s score to single digits each quarter until the fourth when the Wolves were able to get away with 10 points. Bucs captain Nick Antoine scored a game-high 19 points.
“We needed this win to get home court advantage in the next round,” he said. “We focused very hard in practice on our defense. Defense has been carrying us throughout the entire season. We felt like as long as we keep teams under 40 points, we always have a chance to win.”
Antoine has been playing basketball since he was 3 years old. It all began in the driveway, playing one-on-one against his older brother Jerry Antoine who played at Spruce Creek High School and went on to play in the Junior Basketball Association for the New York Ballers.
“I had to make him better,” he said. “It started as big brother beating up on little brother, but it became an inseparable bond that we have.”
Mainland will host Tallahassee Godby in the regional quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 17.