LAKELAND, FL (WJHG/WECP) The Blountstown boys basketball team fell a little short in its bid to win the program's second state championship Tuesday. The Tigers losing to Wildwood in the title game in Lakeland, 62-56.
The Wildcats began the game on an 8-0 run, and the Tigers trailed the rest of the way, unable to make up the early 8 point hole. They were behind 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, and still trailed by 5 at the half, 29-24.
They were outscored by two points, 17-15 in the third, so it was a 7 point deficit into the final quarter. Blountstown did manage to keep it close, but a 17-16 advantage in the final period was not enough, Wildwood winning by the 6 point margin.
KK Godwin, playing his last game for the Tigers, led the team with 23, Denzel Washington added 13, and Jamal Howard scored 10.
"It's just one of those back and forth games." Blountstown head coach Brent Zessin told us afterwards. "I would say half of the year we were behind at halftime, nothing new for us. We were able to make a run at the end of the game, but it just didn't happen. They hit the shots, we didn't make a couple. But that's just the way the ball bounces We're not ashamed of what we've done, what we accomplished. We came down here to win, our goal was to win, but we're proud of what we got and take it back to Blountstown high school."
As for missing out on the title, no doubt the Tigers felt the sting of coming so close, but they also talked about how much was gained in this season, this title run.
"I don't teach x's and o's," Zessin says "the only thing I try to give them is a quality of life and something that's going to take them beyond, because they are not going to be able to play basketball all their lives.
So that was my goal, to be a sultan of light when I got there. I hope I'm there for a long time."
"I mean this is the best experience of my life" senior guard Godwin told us "coach taught us a life left is it lessons not just basketball the ball is going to stop bouncing at some point. I'm looking forward to playing college basketball and I'm thankful for it."