Eagles host familiar foe Eustis Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Poinciana took an early lead in its Region 6A-3 quarterfinal playoff game Thursday — its first in seven years at home — had a dominant start to the second half and allowed visiting Titusville just one fourth-quarter field goal in a 65-43 win that would look comfortable on the scoreboard.
And it wasn’t enough for Coach Richard Victor, who agreed that this time of year sometimes a team just survives and advances.
“That’s a good description, it was like a heart attack on a platter at times,” he said. “We came out not taking this team seriously. Even game for these kids is a learning process, they’ve never been here.
“We knew we didn’t play great, so I congratulated them and chewed them out a little, too. You don’t get this far by being lucky, we’ve played a tremendous schedule. We’ve got to play to that higher level next week our that’ll be the end.”
The Eagles (19-8) will be back at home on Tuesday after Eustis, who Poinciana beat in the District 6A-13 championship and upset Rockledge on Thursday.
Poinciana was led by the steady hand of point guard Reggie Mesidor who scored a game-high 18 points and dished five assists. Defensively he had six steals as the Eagles forced 24 Terriers turnovers.
Mesidor went 6-of-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter as the Eagles were 21-for-32 on a night where the number of whistles rivaled a bird call convention.
“We all just did what we’re supposed to do,” Mesidor said. “We didn’t play the selfish ball, worked harder on defense, capitalized on the offense, just not changing anything and letting the game come to us. I tried to step my game up.”
Poinciana also got double-figures scoring from Anthony Ducan and Jahsean Corbett (12 apiece) and Luis Pena (10 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double, despite all of them, including Mesidor, playing with four fouls much of the fourth quarter.
Mesidor hit a three-pointer near the end of the first quarter to stake Poinciana to a 16-10 lead they’d never surrender.
The lead grew to 26-13 before halftime, but Titusville (20-8) scored back-to-back buckets in the final seconds to make it a 26-17 lead at the break. Any thoughts of the third-quarter swoon that has affected the Eagles this year went away when they scored the first 11 points of the half.
“I let (Coach Craig Wells) give the halftime speech,” Victor joked. “I hadn’t gotten one right in 26 games.”