- January 9, 2023
Na'Riya Perry was down to her last chance to achieve a two-year-old goal, and she wasn't going to let it slip away.
Perry scored a game-high 13 points as the Matanzas girls basketball team made history on Jan. 14, defeating cross-town rival Flagler Palm Coast for the first time, 39-35, at the Bulldogs' gym.
"It feels phenomenal," said Perry, who transferred to Matanzas from FPC two years ago. "When I switched over, this was my goal — to make history."
The senior point guard drained 7 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Pirates (4-12) hold off a Bulldogs team that wasn't going to go down easily.
Matanzas jumped out to a nine-point lead (36-27) with 2:58 remaining in a game where points were hard to come by. But FPC (3-12) whittled the margin down to two as Naria Hill hit a wide-open layup to make it 37-35 with 1:26 to go.
"My girls got fight," FPC coach Anthony Wagner said. "They definitely didn't give up. They're young, but they already have that drive, so that's promising for the future."
The Bulldogs had their chances in the final minute, but they missed four straight free throws. Pirates sophomore Taylor Boone broke the press and hit a driving layup with 10 seconds left to clinch the historic victory.
"I was a tiny bit nervous," Perry said. "But I'm the point guard, so I knew I couldn't show it."
Boone added nine points for Matanzas, which won its second game in a row after beating DeLand 46-40 the night before.
Remy Montgomery and Eimy Ayala scored 10 points apiece for FPC, which entered the contest with a two-game winning streak.
"I'm proud of how far Na'Riya has come and how far the team has come from the beginning of the year," said Matanzas coach Brittany Marts. "We had a good crowd tonight. You could see the passion, how much it means to both of these teams."