The Palmetto Panther basketball team once again stepped up to the plate with their eyes on the prize: the school’s first state championship.
Under the leadership of head coach Marcus Molina, Palmetto has only lost four games this season and none of the opposing team they’ve lost to are from the state of Florida. With an overall record of 18-4, the Panthers are playing as one unit and are having no issues blowing out the opposition, most recently defeating the rival Coral Reef Barracudas 70-32 tonight, Jan. 30.
This team has been individually training since May of 2017 to prepare for the 2018 season. Coach Molina encourages hard work and perseverance among his players and has high expectations for his team that he knows can reach unprecedented heights.
“Coach Molina gives us the freedom to play because he understands our talent,” senior Danilo Castellano said. “He sets the bar high and has the utmost confidence in our abilities.”
Talent never presented a problem for this Panther basketball team, but experience may have lead to them coming up short last season, losing in the regional championship, 52-56, to a South Miami team that advanced to the state’s final four.
Now that this team has been together and training for almost two years, the result may be different.
“These other teams fold in the big moments because they don’t have the same chemistry that we do from constantly training together,” Castellano said.
Palmetto thus far has defeated all of the teams in their district with ease including the aforementioned Barracudas and Killian and Southridge as well. Furthermore, considering that the team is only made up of three seniors including Castellano, success is expected in future seasons as well. The future is promising but for this team, the focus remains on a ticket to Orlando to the state final four, this season
On Friday night, Palmetto will face off against Gulliver on McKinney Court. The Panthers’ home contest will be a white-out so make sure to dress appropriately if you plan to go and cheer on the team.