Hawks miss big chance to knockoff Harmony


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Viera High's Andre Jones scores two of his 11 points during Wednesday night's Class 8A, District 6 game against visiting Harmony. The Longhorns hit a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to wit the game 63-61.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera High boys basketball team had the No. 1 in its district on the ropes Wednesday night.

But in the end, the Hawks couldn’t pull it out.

With the score tied 61-61, Viera had the ball and a chance to play for the final shot against visiting Harmony. But instead of working the clock down, the Hawks took a shot with just under seven seconds left that was blocked.

That gave Harmony time to push the ball back down floor and, after a reach-in foul was called on the Hawks with 1.1 seconds remaining, the Longhorns went to the line where Austin Araya hit a pair of free throws to give the Longhorns a 63-61 Class 8A, District 6 victory.

Viera coach Brett Fink said the Hawks had a specific player in mind that they wanted to get the ball to at the end, but that didn’t happen.

“We had a play designed to get the basketball in the hands of our senior, keep the ball in the hands of our senior, and we didn’t execute the play,” Fink said. “We get a breakdown where we didn’t get the (ball in the hands of the) guy we wanted.”

Fink stressed he wasn’t blaming any one player for the loss, saying, “We just didn’t do enough right tonight.”

Kevin Chandler led the Hawks (5-10) with 28 points. Sean Atkins had 13 points and Andre Jones had 11.

“I thought Joe Frroki played really hard tonight,” Fink said. “He helped us rebound. From the time I put him in until the end, he played hard, gave us good effort, defended and did his job.”

The Hawks certainly had their moments, especially in the first half where they took a 37-33 lead into the break.

However, a slow start to the third quarter for Viera helped Harmony get itself on track and the Hawks could never seem to re-take control.

One area Fink was particularly unhappy with was the Hawks’ defense.

“We didn’t defend tonight the whole game they way I expected us to defend, the way they’re expected to defend,” Fink said. “Our defensive effort tonight was terrible.”

Viera came into Wednesday night on a two-game winning streak, including a big, emotional victory over Rockledge the night before.

And the Hawks certainly put a scare into Harmony and can be bolstered by the face that they came very close to knocking off the Longhorns despite not playing their best.

 “When we defend, and when we play with great energy, we can play with anybody,” Fink said. “We showed it the other night against Rockledge. We showed it the night before against Liberty.

“We have to make a consistent effort to live up to our values. That’s the three things that are on our jerseys, and what we say after every breakdown – play hard, play right and play together.

“As a group, they tried to stick together. They tried to support each other. But we did not play hard enough and we did not do enough right. We can’t have that.”