VENICE — The Venice basketball team is finally getting their basketball legs under them, and that spells trouble for the teams that have to face them down the stretch.

Jayshon Platt led four Indians in double figures as they pulled away from a tough Sarasota squad late for an 80-69 victory Friday at The Teepee, for their third straight win.

Platt, who joined the team late because the football team’s state championship run, scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter as Venice (6-7) was finally able to run the Sailors, who shot well all night, into submission.

“Sarasota lit it up tonight. I’ll bet they had eight threes (seven) between their guards. We mixed up the defense a little bit, but it’s all about our running game. As soon as we got out running, we were OK,” Venice coach Mike Montgomery said.

But it took a while. Sarasota (3-13) got a strong start from Sean Collier and were tied at 15 after one and trailed 32-31 at the half.

The Indians would seemingly get a six-point run together, only to have Sarasota get a three-point play from Larsen Carr or something from behind the arc from the likes of Rhys Gamble.

Carr led Sarasota with 15 points off the bench despite playing with four fouls much of the second half.

But after being ahead 52-48 after three, Venice finally blew the game open in the fourth, outscoring the Sailors 28-21. Platt hit a couple threes while Austin Bray and Jayshon’s brother Deylen had big plays on both ends of the floor to take a 13-point lead.

“I think it was our defense that put pressure on them and we were pushing the ball in transition to get layups,” Jayshon Platt said. “We’re (the Platt brothers) football players so we’re running all game.”

Deylen Platt had excellent first and third quarters to score 20. Bray added 13 including an emphatic dunk late, while Myles Weston scored 11.

“My teammates got me the ball, so I was transitioning with the ball getting to the basket and making my shots,” Deylen Platt said. “We won the state football championship on Dec. 18 and the next day we were back in the gym. We have our basketball legs now.”

Montgomery said his team seems to know when to turn on the extra effort, especially late in games.

“They seem to wait and then pull it out in the end. These kids run harder in the fourth quarter than they do in the first three,” Montgomery said. “They conserve energy, play hard enough to keep it close, when they want to turn it on, they do.”

Nate Johnson also came off the bench for Sarasota to score 11, with three threes in the fourth quarter to try to keep them close, while Collier added 10.


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