Legiste, Dugazon combine for 44 points as Stranahan topples NCT, 76-45

NCT’s Orien Adams tossed in 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Wednesday night against the state’s No. 1 team, Fort Lauderdale-Strnahan. The Dragons ousted the Sharks, 76-45. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO


Stranahan’s Daquion Vickers (0) emphatically blocks this field goal attempt by Saajid Steward (3) Wednesday night at the George Jenkins Arena in Lakeland. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
NCT senior Brandon Clarke (11) looss to pass against Stranahan Wednesday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO


NCT junior center

Orien Adams tosses

22, grabs 13 boards



LAKELAND – The Stranahan Dragons’ inside-outside combo of center Inady Legiste and point guard Brian Dugazon brought down the curtains on Nature Coast Technical’s second-best-ever season Wednesday night at the George Jenkins Arena at the RF Funding Center in Polk County, 76-45.

The 6-foot-6 225-pound Legiste knocked down 11-of-13 field goal attempts and 1-of-2 free throws for a game-high 23 points.

He added six rebounds and blocked a shot.

For a Broward County squad that converted 30-of-52 field goal attempts (58 percent) and protected the basketball (game-low nine turnovers), Dugazon deserves most of the credit.

The slick six-foot point guard. who can stop on a dime, and toss in feathery jump shots, canned 8-of=11 FG tries and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe for 21 points to compliment Legiste.

The duo combined for 15 of the Dragons’ initial 18 points to lead 18-12 after eight minutes.

NCT, which misfired on 33-of-51 FG tries, missed 7-of-10 second-period field goal tries to trail deeper at the intermission, 34-19.

Legiste has 13 points at the half, all inside the paint.

Dugazon added 10 markers, including one three-pointer and another 12-foot jumper.

In the third quarter, Stranahan (26-6 overall), the state’s No. 1 ranked team, stepped on the gas, with a 21-7 run to end any suspense.

Legiste and Dugazon divided 21 second-half points to push the Dragons into Thursday’s 7 p.m. title tilt against St. Petersburg-Lakewood.

The Spartans (27-3) eliminated the Jacksonville-Paxon Golden Eagles (25-4) in the first of two state semifinals, 61-49.

For the Sharks (24-7 overall), the loss did not over shadow a tremendous 22-point, 13-rebound effort by the Sharks’ 6-foot-4 junior center Orien Adams.

Senior guard Robert Gomez, who misfired on 14-of-18 field goal attempts, still finished with 11 points.

In the lightning-quick transitional efforts by the Dragons after nearly each of the Sharks’ game-high 16 turnovers resulted in points the other way.

Post-game chatter

Orien Adams

Adams, who arrived in the Sharks’ second-ever Final Four appearance – first since 2012 – averaging a double/double: 16.8 ppg and over 16 rebounds per game, gave props to the Dragons.

“They’re the best team we faced,” noted the 18-year-old Adams. “They had everything: size, speed and they got up and down the court.”

On whether NCT emptied their proverbial tank, “We didn’t play our best,“ countered Adams. “We’ve gotta keep trying.”

Gomez echoed Adams’ sentiments.

Robert Gomez

“They (Stranahan) pushed the ball up the court. That’s a helluva team. What makes then stand out is their defensive pressure and defensive discipline,” pointed out the 18-year-old Gomez.

On whether the Sharks left everything on the court, “We didn‘t do everything we wanted to do,” added Gomez.

On what Gomez took away from the experience, “We made school history reaching states,” he said.

On the biggest lesson learned in final prep game, “If five guys play together they can achieve anything,” shared Gomez. “I have no regrets.”

NCT’s 12th-year skipper David Pisarcik paced the sidelines Wednesday night at the RF Funding Center in Lakeland. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Coaches‘ corner

NCT‘s 12th‘-year skipper David Pisarcik was a realist even prior to the game.

David Pisarcik

“We knew going in what we were up against and we knew we had to play well (to have a chance),” said Pisarcik, who dipped to 0-2 in Final Fours.

On who delivered the daggers, “That Legiste kid is great, but so is their point guard (Dugazon). He deserves the credit. He can dribble, shoot and defend. They deserved it.”

On whether the Dragons rolled out anything the Sharks were not ready for, “No. We knew what they were going to do,” said Pisarcik. “We scouted them well, but you still have to stop ’em. They’re the No. 1 team in the state for a reason.”

On what 2018-19 left, “I’m proud of these seniors,” noted Pisarcik. “They came together. The memories of getting here will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

“… Losing hurts now, but in a week they’ll look back on the season and see what a great season we had.”

2019 Road to “The Show”

Class 6A, District 7 Boys Basketball Tournament Recap



@ Crystal River

Crystal River 68, Weeki Wachee 46



@ Lecanto

Hernando 68, Citrus 51

Central 60, Lecanto 57



@ Lecanto

Crystal River 65, Hernando 36.

Nature Coast Technical 50, Central 39



@ Lecanto

Crystal River 35, Nature Coast Technical 33


Class 6A, Region II


@ Crystal River

Crystal River 56, Zephyrhills 44

@ Holiday-Anclote

Nature Coast Technical 46, Anclote 43


Class 6A, Region II


@ Crystal River

Nature Coast Technical 67, Crystal River 35

@ Gainesville

Palatka 61, Eastside 60


Class 6A, Region II


@ Palatka

Nature Coast Technical 60, Palatka 53


Class 6A, State Semifinals

@ Lakeland’s RF Funding Center (formerly known as The Lakeland Center)

St. Petersburg-Lakewood 81, Jacksonville-Paxon 49

Fort Lauderdale-Stranahan 76, Nature Coast Technical 45


Class 6A, State Championship

St. Petersburg-Lakewood vs. Fort Lauderdale-Stranahan, 7 p.m.

Stranahan 76,

Nature Coast Technical 45























NATURE COAST TECHNICAL (45) – Gomez 4 2-4 11, Steward 0, Clark 2 0-0 6, Adams 11 0-0 22, Teague 1 1-2 4, Lopez 0, Hall 0, Huynh 0, Scalise 0, Perez 0 2-2 2, Haley 0. Totals: 18 5-8 45.

STRANAHAN (76) – Vickers 3 0-0 6, Herard 2 3-4 9, Ligiste 11 1-2 23. Dugazon 8 4-4 21, C. Culpepper 2 1-2 6, Greene 1 0-0 2, Thorpe 1 2-2 5, McCall 0, H. Culpepper 1 0-0 2, Smith 0, Adams 0, Lewis 1 0-0 2.Totals: 30 11-14 76.

3-point goals – NCT (4): Clarke (2), Teague, Gomez. STR (5): Herard (2), Duzaon, Thorpe, C. Culpepper.

Total Fouls – NCT: 14. STR: 14

Fouled out – none..

Technical fouls – none.

Records: Nature Coast Technical (24-7 overall), Fort Lauderdale-Stranahan (26-6 overall).


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