PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– The North Bay Haven boys basketball team was eager for a fresh start this season after going 6-20 last year. The charter school’s athletic director Kevin Jacobs took over both the boys and girls basketball programs this season.
“This is more of a comeback year for us, and we did have a lot of struggles last year, coaching wise and chemistry wise, but this year I feel like we’re a whole new team,” North Bay Haven basketball player Bret Beshear said.
However, the year would start with some adversity for the Buccaneers. In early December, the school postponed all athletic activities due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Just a few days after that announcement, Jacobs resigned from his positions as athletic director and coach.
North Bay Haven boys basketball assistant coach, Daryl Scott, took over the program while to team took a break from both games and practices.
“Coach Jacobs had a plan and a blueprint… I’m just going to carry out that plan for the rest of the season,” Scott said.
Scott has been with the program for six years, players said they are glad he was the one chosen to take over the program. The Buccaneers said Scott pushed them to be better.
“You always want a coach that you like, that you have chemistry with, you always play better and have more confidence and trust him,” North Bay Haven basketball player Christian Bibbs said.
Following contact tracing, the Buccaneers were not able to practice again until Dec. 28. They had no intentions of playing a game until January until Mosley boys basketball head coach Mike Memmen invited the Buccaneers to fill a vacant spot in Mosley’s Holiday Hoopfest.
“We honestly thought the season was done until further than this, and then our coach gave us a call, and we were participating in a tournament,” Bibbs said.
“He scheduled us two games and I just wanted to boys to play,” Scott said.
Scott took Memmen up on the offer although they were only able to hold one practice prior to their game against Graceville on Dec. 29.
“It was rough, we were all tired after coming off a long break, we hadn’t conditioned much,” Beshear said.
Despite the lack of time to prepare, North Bay Haven beat Graceville 70-49 in their first game of the classic on Tuesday.
“I got a bunch of resilient kids, they play hard for me, they listen, just go out there and leave it on the court,” Scott said.
In the team’s second game on Wednesday, the Buccaneers beat Mosley in the final game of the event. It was the first time North Bay Haven boys basketball has beaten the Dolphins in program history.
“It’s Mosley you know, everyone wants to play Mosley everyone wants to beat Mosley, it’s a big accomplishment,” Bibbs.
The win is over a school the Buccaneers consider to be one of the “big three” in Bay County along with Rutherford and Bay. The charter school hasn’t had much success against those schools in the past.
“We compete, but we haven’t been able to get over the hump and to get a W, so it was a great win for the program,” Scott said.
North Bay Haven will look to carry the momentum from their performance at Mosley Holiday Hoopfest with them into Monday night’s game against Bay High. That game will tipoff at 7 p.m. at Bay, we’ll have coverage for you on News 13 next week.