EAST LAKE — It's a good week to be Marco Behori.
After dropping a career-high 33 points in Tuesday's win over Pinellas Park, the junior guard secured Seminole's position atop the Class 7A District 9 standings tonight by lighting up East Lake for 31 more.
Behori put on a scoring clinic Friday – stop-and-pop 3's, driving the lane, taking players on the baseline – as he and the Warhawks kept East Lake at arm's length all night. His first half was so hot, in fact, that his 24 points outpaced the entire Eagles lineup by three.
Talking about the recent hot performances after the game, Behori preferred to dish out compliments rather than take credit.
“I hit my shots, yes, but my teammates got me open,” he said. “They'd drive and open it up for me and then I was able to hit my shots.”
Seminole coach Josh Walker said it's that all-around unselfishness that's allowing the Warhawks (14-2, 6-0) to continue their winning ways.
“[Behori's] tough and we've got some kids that are dedicated to getting him open,” he said. “It's a team effort. While he's making [shots], other players are setting screens for him and getting him the ball.
“They take pride in their roles. It's not an all-star role, but it's a role, and that's what makes us a dangerous team, I think.”
Behori was joined in double-digits scoring by forwards Tanner Cowan (13 points) and Connor Frain (10). The Warhawks' rangy bigs caused headaches for East Lake players all over the court Friday.
“They're very long and they actually play guard for us, too,” Walker said of Cowan and Frain. “They're very versatile for us and I think it makes for a tough matchup, especially against bigger post players.”
Seminole nearly went wire-to-wire Friday night, falling behind only for a fleeting moment when East Lake's Cody Carden's 3-pointer put the Eagles up 3-2.
Behori fueled the Warhawks' effort to pull away in the second quarter by drilling back-to-back 3's on two occasions.
Stymying East Lake's game from the start was an all-around poor shooting night from long distance. The Eagles' offense created open shots but only managed to hit on three of its 3-points in the first half. Cody Carden (13 points), Trevor Schnell (10) and Kyle Mogged (9) paced the team's offense.
“East Lake's a good team,” Walker said. “[Coach Joe Bloznalis] did a good job of getting some counters. There was a chess match out there, I thought. We just shot a little bit better in the first half.”
The Eagles did cut their deficit to single digits late, 59-50, with back-to-back 3's from Carden and Trevor Godfrey, respectively. The shots came with only 42.7 seconds left, though, and Seminole put the finishing touches on its 62-51 victory.
Friday's win now gives Seminole a two-game cushion over the Eagles (10-5, 4-2), and its importance was not lost on Behori.
“It doesn't get any bigger than this,” he said. “Our whole goal is districts and the first way to win districts is to get that bye. So this is a big win for us.”
SEM - 21 – 14 – 10 – 17 --- 50
EL - 8 – 7 – 12 – 14 --- 41
Marco Behori – 31 points (4 3-pointers)
Tanner Cowan – 13 points, 9 rebounds
Connor Frain – 10 points, 9 rebounds
Cody Carden – 13 points (3 3-pointers)
Trevor Schnell – 10 points
Jordan Leston – 8 points, 6 rebounds