TRINITY — The battle to stake claim toward being the best boys basketball team in Pasco County took place Monday night between Wesley Chapel and Mitchell.
Both squads entered with identical records at 18-4 and both were coming off key losses to divisional opponents. It would take more than four quarters to decide which club would earn the distinction as the best in the county and Mitchell took all 36 minutes to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit to come back and defeat Wesley Chapel 49-46 in overtime on senior night.
“We came out real soft and (Wesley Chapel) came out with a lot more fire than we did,” Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles said. “Their man-to-man defense is very, very good. It was a big night and we wanted to show that we’re the best team. They showed that they were the best team in the first half, but we were able to show what we could do in the second half.”
Mitchell (19-4) wasn’t able to hit much of anything from the field in the first half, as the Mustangs shot a lowly 3-for-23 (13 percent) and went 0-for-9 shooting in the second quarter. Wesley Chapel (18-5) dominated the boards in the first half, thanks to a strong performance from center Marcus Hayne, who scored 14 points and grabbed 20 rebounds.
The Mustangs inched their way closer throughout the second half and were able to tie the game at 37 with 1:16 left in the game. With both teams missing potential game-winning shots, the contest would shift into overtime and shooting guard Lawrence Watt’s floater to put Mitchell up 43-41 would be the last time the Mustangs trailed. Mitchell would secure the victory with free throws down the stretch en route to its 19th victory of the season.
Watt led Mitchell in scoring with 19 points on the night and teammates Sean Thompson and Bernie Conley paced the Mustangs with 13 and seven points.