The Mansfield Legacy boys basketball team pulled a major upset on Jan. 3 when it defeated the top ranked team in the state, and the Broncos will look to go 2-0 against Lancaster on Friday.
Legacy defeated the Tigers by a score of 51-43 in the second district game this season, and coach Cornelius Mitchell said he feels pretty certain that Lancaster will be extra motivated this time around.
“Anytime you upset the No. 1 team in the state, you can expect a revenge effort,” Mitchell said. “They are talented, and I expect them to really look for an improved performance during our second contest. It will be challenging for our guys as they will have take their effort to a new level.
“For us it’s just another opportunity to grow, as we will obviously have a enormous task in trying to defeat Lancaster two times in a season. We tell our guys all the time, it’s hard just beating good teams, but even harder to beat them more than once.”
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Legacy pulled to 2-4 in district competition with a 75-60 victory over Mansfield Summit last Tuesday.
Lashaune Lunford led the team in scoring with 21 points, while Malik Murad scored 18. Jalen Catalon scored 12 points for Legacy, while Trevone Fuller added 10 points in the game.
Phillip Smith, Brandon Reeves, Ryan Mata and Michael Simmons combined for 14 points against Summit.
Mitchell said he is pleased with the progress his team has made in the first half of district play, but added that it has not been without its growing pains.
“We are such an inexperienced team,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes inexperience in a district this competitive can really humble you. We have had some great successes, but we have also have some tough setbacks. I think if we can continue to focus on the things that make us a better team, I think we can continue to make a push for a playoff spot.”
Mitchell said for Legacy to have a shot a postseason berth, his players will need to stay focused.
“I think when you are dealing with inexperienced guys in new roles, it’s going to be more about the mental [or] emotional approach than it will be the physical side,” Mitchell said. “Our guys — they give good effort, but the challenge is now carrying it over night after night. That’s where the mental/emotional side of sports kicks in.
“It’s hard for young athletes to keep their focus for 30-plus games with all the ups and downs of a season. For us to got grab a spot, our approach to each game has to be about growth both physically and mentally. If we can maintain our focus with maximum effort, I think we will be in the mix late in the district season.”