As the saying goes, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
However, it looks like the Venice boys basketball team learned its lesson after losing to Manatee in overtime back on Dec. 14.
The Indians and Hurricanes found themselves battling it out in the extra period once again on Friday night, but this time it was Venice (7-14, 4-4) that pulled out a 59-53 win at the TeePee.
“If there’s one thing about this team, it’s that these kids won’t quit,” Venice coach John Flynn said. “They just don’t quit. They may make a bad decision or whatever, but I never question their motives and their effort.”
The Indians certainly could have packed it in after trailing the Hurricanes 20-6 midway through the second quarter, but that was far from the case.
Working with a new rotation, it took some time for Venice to gel in the early parts of Friday night’s game, but an offensive spark from two regular starters turned the sluggish start around in a hurry.
Chason Rockymore (15 points) and Brett Keyso (20 points) combined for a quick nine points in the final minutes of the first half, and the Indians were back in the game in the blink of an eye. Guard Spencer Green finished the quarter with a converted and-one and the Indians trailed 23-19 at the half.
Again in the third quarter, the Venice offense was rolling.
Keyso added another nine points, and two 3-pointers from Adam Gebel gave Venice its first lead of the game.
However, the fourth quarter was a struggle for both teams as each side turned the ball over several times.
Though Manatee (9-12, 2-6) built a five-point lead with about three minutes to go, a driving layup by Vince Marino and a crucial 3-pointer by Rockymore tied the game once again.
A thunderous one-handed slam from Rockymore tied the game again in the final minute, and neither side was able to capitalize on some last-second looks.
In overtime, Manatee couldn’t find its shot — all four of its overtime points came on free-throws — and Venice got all the offense it needed from Rockymore and Keyso, the duo who started the comeback in the first place.
Rockymore converted an and-one for a three-point lead with two minutes to go and Keyso sank 5-of-6 free throws to ice the game.
The win couldn’t have come at a much better time for a Venice team that had lost its last three games. At 4-4 in 8A District-11, the Indians are now up multiple games on Manatee (2-6) and Sarasota (1-6) while nipping at the heels of Braden River (4-3).
“I’m really ecstatic,” Flynn said. “It gets us back to 4-4 in the district. It’s huge for us. It separates us from (Manatee) and now we have a game against Braden River left. I think that could be a big game. I just love the effort.”