Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

No. 4 Gilbert three peats city title with win over Twin Lakes

SANDALWOOD-Not one, not two, but three, count em, three titles in three years for the Mathew Gilbert Panthers. Their third came tonight as they defeated the Twin Lakes Wolves to become the 2017 Duval County boys basketball middle school champions.

The Panthers were led by Nyron Waters #3 who had a game high 22 points in the game. He slashed to the basket making layups and was just too fast for the Wolves to slow down. #10 Darryl Bryant chipped in 12 points for the Panthers as they jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it.

Things got considerably tough for Twin Lakes in the second half as Gilbert turned up the pressure. It was a strategy by Coach Gerald Roberts that paid off after noticing Twin Lakes style of play. “ We saw that they scored about thirty to forty points a game, so we knew that if we ran the floor and scored 50 points that they may not be able to keep pace”- coach Roberts.

Gilbert forced Twin Lakes into turnovers in the second half and scored 10 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

For Roberts, this third championship was probably the hardest for him to achieve.

“It was hard because anytime you win two championships you start to think your unbeatable. So it was a challenge to keep them focused day in and day out.”

Focused is certainly what the Panthers were all year. They gained big wins over teams all year including a defeat of west division champ Jeff Davis in the first round of the playoffs. Saturday’s win over South division champ Twin Lakes was the culmination of middle school greatness.

“ Many of the kids I’ve had since the sixth grade, said Coach Roberts. “To see them achieve success every year is truly something special”.